Should you be screened? Bringing clarity to COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus

(WRIC) — If you believe you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, but still can’t get tested, Virginia health officials tell 8News its due to a limited number of supplies.

Have a cough or fever? Feeling tired or having difficulty breathing? Yes, all of those ailments are symptoms of the coronavirus. Depending on the severity of the case, however, it can be difficult to find a site to be tested as a result of a shortage supply.

“I think people, if they’re interested in getting tested, should call their healthcare provider and say ‘hey do you have test kits now and are you accepting people to get tested?'” says Dr. Danny Avula, the director of the Richmond and Henrico health districts. “I think the answer to that changes every day based on their access.”

Dr. Danny Avula

There are four different categories healthcare providers are required to follow before testing a potential carrier of COVID-19:

  • The patient must be in the hospital with severe symptoms.
  • The patient must be a healthcare worker or first responder with symptoms.
  • The person must have known contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Anyone living in a congregate-care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, and has symptoms, with the flu having been ruled out.

Here’s how tests are done: Swabs are taken from the back of the nose – and sometimes from the mouth as well – to test the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Virginia State Lab can now test about 1,800 people. Dr. Avula says with each passing day, more options will become available for residents looking to get tested for COVID-19.

“Each day there’s been more and more testing available,” Dr. Avula said. “There are urgent cares who have started in the past couple of days and we’re referring patients to those.”

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