Some of the big COVID-19 questions making the rounds online, at work, and at home have to do with testing: Should I get it? Should you get it? And how? Where? Who gets priority? And why aren’t tests available for everyone?
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends testing for two main groups of people: People who are showing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and those who have been exposed to an infected person.
These groups should stay home and contact their doctor, who will determine if you should be tested.
The other big point that health officials are stressing: People older than 65, those who have severe underlying medical conditions, or people with a weakened immune system should call their doctor if they are concerned about their symptoms.
There is plenty of debate about this, but experts agree that, right now, testing for everyone just isn’t possible.
The CDC says those in high-risk groups should have priority: Health care workers, people with symptoms severe enough to need medical care, and people older than 65 with chronic health conditions, etc.
The test itself if pretty easy – it’s a simple swab taken from your nose.
But the test requires a kit, specialized equipment, and trained personnel. The current method looks for the virus' genetic material (RNA) in a patient's cells, according to Maureen Ferrain at Rochester Institute of Technology and Science Alert.
This type of test is usually very accurate, according to Science News.
The bottom line, and the easiest solution right now, is to call your primary care doctor to understand more and to find out if you are eligible to be tested and how it works near you.