All you need to know about Testing for COVID-19 And When To Seek Medical Attention


Testing for COVID-19 is critical to containing this pandemic. As the world continues to fight against the spread of the corona virus, there are a couple of questions that borders around how to test, who should be tested, and when to see a doctor.

Keynotes When Testing For COVID-19

According to the Centers for disease control and prevention-CDC, there are laboratory tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory samples. State and local public health departments have received tests from the CDC, while medical providers receive tests developed by commercial manufacturers. All of these tests are Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panels, that can provide results in 4 to 6 hours.

Who should be tested

Actually, everyone doesn’t need to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing.

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus.
  • Testing results may be helpful to inform decision-making about who you come in contact with.
    CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.
  • Clinicians should work with their state and local health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories, or work with clinical or commercial laboratories.


How to get tested

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, try calling your state or local health department or a medical provider. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested.

After Testing for COVID-19 – What you should do


If you test positive for COVID-19

See If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone.



If you test negative for COVID-19

You probably were not infected at the time your specimen was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick.

It is possible that you were very early in your infection at the time of your specimen collection and that you could test positive later, or you could be exposed later and then develop illness. In other words, a negative test result does not rule out getting sick later.

CDC expects that widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world will occur if no cure or vaccine is found. In the coming months, a staggering number of the world’s population will be exposed to this virus. You should continue to practice all the protective measures recommended to keep yourself and others free from illness. See How to Protect Yourself.

If you are very sick get medical attention immediately



When to Seek Medical Attention

People infected with COVID-19 develop emergency warning signs. It is important you get medical attention immediately if you observe these warning signs :

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pressure or pains in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

* This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.


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