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Why Your Doctor Probably Won't Give You a Coronavirus Test

Why Your Doctor Probably Won't Give You a Coronavirus Test
(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 March 2020 03:19 PM

Physicians across the nation are being asked by their patients to be tested for the coronavirus, but with limited resources and not enough tests to meet the demand, experts have set guidelines on who qualifies for testing.

According to CNN doctors have to prioritize. The general consensus among experts is that testing should be done on patients when the result would make a difference in their care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some testing guidelines but notes that “decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians”.

Who shouldn’t be tested:

  • The CDC says that symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you are symptom-free, you don’t need to be tested right now.
  • If you have symptoms and are healthy and under 70 years of age. There is no immediate need for testing because of the shortage. “The test isn’t going to change what we can do for you,” explains Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital. “A lot of the reason we test for the flu is to give you something if you test positive. We don’t have anything specific to give you for coronavirus.” Her advice for those is with symptoms is go home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, stay away from other people but get medical attention if you develop shortness of breath.

Who does need testing:

  • Anyone who has been in close contact for a prolonged period of time with someone who has had a positive coronavirus test. The CDC defines close contact “as having direct contact with the infectious secretions of someone who has coronavirus, such as being coughed on, or being within 6 feet on an infected person,” according to CNN.

To end the coronavirus crisis, however, we need more widespread testing, say many experts. According to National Public Radio, scientists believe that testing is “absolutely essential to control the epidemic.” Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a co-discoverer of HIV, says that testing was a major factor in bringing the AIDS epidemic under control, and it will be needed here as well.

“You make it as cheap as you can and you make it as simple as you can,” he told NPR.

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Physicians across the nation are being asked by their patients to be tested for the coronavirus, but with limited resources and not enough tests to meet the demand, experts have set guidelines on who qualifies for testing.
us doctor, coronavirus testing
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2020-19-24
Tuesday, 24 March 2020 03:19 PM
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