COVID-19 Testing: Should you do it?

Published 8:09 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Imagine beginning to feel ill during the era of COVID-19. It’s a new virus with no vaccine and limited testing as of now. Should you even bother?
According to Linda McClure, APRN with the Northeast Regional Health Office, testing is important for not just you, but everyone else too.
“It is important to be tested in order to protect those around you,” she said. “Once we know that a person is infected we have to be extremely cautious and monitor anyone who is a possible contact. We want to avoid spreading the disease to others.”
The main symptoms for the virus are fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Due to the virus now being deemed community spread, if you exhibit these symptoms, it is urged you call a medical hotline for a screening to determine if testing is necessary.
According to Ballad Health’s Coronavirus section of their website, those who are experiencing shortness of breath need to call their medical provider immediately for assistance. Those with milder symptoms, should call their Nurse Connect Hotline for a screening to see if testing is necessary.
For those who do not wish to speak on the phone, internet resources, like the CDC and even Siri, to evaluate your need to test for COVID-19 are available.
Upon consultation, if you are deemed to possibly need a test, you will go to a physician’s office or a drive thru testing site to have this done. According to Ballad Health’s website, one of their caregivers can test a patient for other types of respiratory illness, and if those are negative and the Ballad Health caregiver suspects the patient might have COVID-19, the Ballad Health Infection Prevention team will contact the Tennessee Department of Health who will initiate the COVID-19 test.
“The test involves a deep swab of the nose that is sent to the laboratory to check for the presence of the novel coronavirus,” Ashley Davies, Health Development Coordinator for the Northeast Regional Health Office, said.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for the virus, however, symptoms can be treated through various treatments, like breathing treatments and fever reducing medications. Finding out if you have the virus can focus on what treatments and precautions are needed to be taken.
There are currently over six million residents listed in Tennessee, with less than 100,000 having been tested so far.
For Carter County, the Health Department located at 403 E. G Street in Elizabethton is offering drive thru testing Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can register for an appointment by calling 423-979-4689 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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