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You will qualify for a COVID-19 test ONLY if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and if you fall into several high-risk categories. Due to the very limited number of tests available in certain regions and throughout the country, testing is currently recommended only in the following high-risk groups:
- Patients requiring hospitalization for suspected COVID-19
- Symptomatic health care workers
- Symptomatic patients living in long-term care facilities
- Symptomatic patients at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. This includes 65 or more year old patients; patients with chronic lung diseases (such as asthma), kidney, liver, and heart diseases; patients who are immunosuppressed from diseases like cancer and HIV, or from prescribed medications like steroids; and diabetic patients or those who are morbidly obese with BMI of more than 40.
- Symptomatic pregnant women
- Symptomatic first aid personnel (for example emergency medical technicians [EMTs], firefighters, police officers, etc.)
- Symptomatic people living with a patient at high risk of complications from COVID-19.
If several members of a family have similar symptoms, the tests will be reserved for the first people who have shown symptoms. Because the virus is extremely contagious, it can be assumed that other family members with similar symptoms are also infected (this is known as a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19).
Mild or Moderate Symptoms
Patients with mild or moderate, but otherwise healthy symptoms will receive a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 and will be monitored with home isolation. To date, there are no approved treatments for COVID-19. Additionally, symptomatic patients who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 (such as roommates or family members) will only require testing if they fall into one of the high-risk categories listed above. These patients will also receive a presumptive diagnosis of COVID and will normally be monitored at home.
Asymptomatic patients should not receive the test. This test detects active disease, but cannot determine if the person has been exposed to the virus. Importantly, diagnostic tests will be reserved for those who need them most. Other types of tests, called serology tests, are expected to be available in the near future. These tests will help detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and determine if the patient has ever been infected, including people who may have had asymptomatic (without symptoms) or COVID-19 a very mild form of the disease. Learn more about COVID-19 testing at Primex Labs.