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Can you be tested for coronavirus? This is who qualifies for COVID-19 testing today



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It can be difficult to get tested for coronavirus at your location.


James Martin / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

As the incidence of coronavirus around the world continues to increase, more facilities have been transformed into COVID-19 test sites from drive-through test sites to medical centers that have been set up for the task at hand. However, getting a test is not as easy as simply showing up at a test site. If you do, chances are you will be rejected, at least for the time being; the situation changes rapidly as more test kits are made and deployed.

Testing tells us a few things: It confirms COVID-19 in people who are believed to have it – that is, they show symptoms. But it also tells us whether people who seem asymptomatic harbor the virus. If so, they can spread it unconsciously. This knowledge helps protect vulnerable groups with a higher risk of death by protecting the COVID-19 disease .

Here's what you need to know about who can be tested for the coronavirus.

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Drive-through test sites require you in your car stays with the windows up.


James Martin / CNET

Can anyone just be tested?

In the US, not now. Some cities and states may be able to test more people if they have more access to the test kits themselves. For example, tens of thousands of test kits are currently being diverted to New York State, a coronavirus hotspot and a leading site of COVID-19 fatalities, as the need there is high. New York plans to produce its own test kits in May, but will first require FDA approval .

As a result, the limited number of tests available at each site is often reserved for higher-risk patients (eg, with underlying health problems ) or patients who show strong symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion and bluish lips or face.

Scientists are working with the FDA to get a new tool approved. It is a CRISPR based system known as Detectr that was able to detect the disease within 40 minutes . Coronavirus treatments are also being tested and tried in animals and humans.

How do I get a doctor's order to be tested?

In many cases, you must have an appointment and a doctor to be eligible for a coronavirus test.

Each state has its own testing policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you contact your national health department for more information. They can also let you know which test site to visit.

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When to Seek Medical Help

Fever and cough are two symptoms of coronavirus, but the CDC says that if you have trouble breathing, that is a more serious symptom and an indication to seek medical help. Other serious symptoms include chest pain or pressure, confusion, and bluish lips or face.

You should also seek medical attention if you are a higher risk person – 65 years of age or older, or someone with hypertension, heart disease, autoimmune disease, moderate to severe asthma, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or severe obesity.

CDC Priorities for First Testing

The CDC has guidelines for patients to be tested first for coronavirus in three priority levels.

Priority One: Hospitalized Patients and Symptomatic Health Professionals.

Priority Two: High Risk Patients with Coronavirus Symptoms.

Priority Three: Testing of symptomatic individuals in the community, if resources allow.

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If you think you have coronavirus, self-i solate yourself and check your symptoms.


Angela Lang / CNET

What if I am not tested and I think I have the corona virus?

The CDC notes that most people who have acquired COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and are able to recover at home in self-isolation without medical care and therefore do not require testing.

If you do not meet the above requirements for immediate testing, you should do the following if you or someone in your household develops coronavirus . This is also a good time to make a mask or to buy one online to avoid spreading the virus to others.

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.


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