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Do I need to be tested for Coronavirus? (COVID-19)?

This has been a common question from our patients lately.

Due to current testing capacity limitations in Texas and throughout US at this time, the testing has to be handled in a special way working with local health department. Below is the testing criteria to prioritize testing of persons at risk of COVID-19. The qualifiers below are very important.

  1. Have fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness AND  any person who has had close contact with a lab confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset.
  2. Have fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization AND  a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symtom onset (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan, so far)
  3. Have fever and/or severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza) AND  No source of exposure has been identified.

We should not panic but we should follow some basic prevention guidelines. The most common way that this virus spreads is from person-to-person when people are within about 6 feet from one another. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, the respiratory droplets are produced and could land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.

How do you prevent it? There are three simple measures you can take.

  • Wear a facemask if you are flying or going to be in crowded places like conventions or malls.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes in crowded areas.
  • A good practice all the time –  washing hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds regularly.

Please learn more about Coronavirus and COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html and https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

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