Since COVID-19 was first discovered in the U.S. in February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been hard at work trying to figure out the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid future outbreaks.
The CDC recommends the following six steps in order to get the most accurate test results for people who think they may have COVID-19 or have been near someone who has been exposed to it.
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1. Viral testing, specimen collection and reporting
Viral testing uses samples like the nose swab to see if the virus is present in your body. The CDC recommends that viral testing be used in cases of acute (rapidly-developing) infections. Depending on the type of test, results could be available at the test site within an hour, while other tests may have to be sent to a lab to process and analyze, taking up to one or two days. No one should be tested more than once within a 24-hour period.
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2. Antibody testing
Antibody testing can determine if you have previously contracted COVID-19, even if you were asymptomatic. The CDC does not recommend an antibody test to determine if you currently have the virus, nor does it recommend you take an antibody test to determine if you are immune to the virus as there is not enough research to prove previous contraction leads to immunity. The antibody tests are mostly being used to determine if someone had COVID-19 that currently has post-infectious syndrome or to determine transmission rates geographically.
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3. Testing for individuals with symptoms
The CDC recommends using tests that have a Food and Drug Administration Emergency Authorization of Use to test symptomatic individuals. People are encouraged to use their judgment when it comes to deciding to get tested, and should think about doing so if they have a fever, cough or even a sore throat. The CDC also recommends testing for other illnesses such as the flu or other causes of respiratory illness depending age, the season and the clinical setting.
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4. Asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected exposure
Anyone with close contact to an individual with COVID-19 is recommended to get tested whether they show symptoms or appear to be asymptomatic, especially in areas with a sudden outbreak in cases, a risk for widespread exposure (meat factories for example) or areas with individuals who are at a higher risk for severe infection (immunocompromised).
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5. Asymptomatic individuals without known or suspected exposure
Even if you have not been exposed to the virus or have contracted it, certain workplaces and residential areas can still be at a high risk for rapid transmission. The CDC recommends that the following occupations and residencies should have a plan in place when it comes to widespread testing: Long-term care facilities, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, other group-home related residencies and critical infrastructure workplaces where there is a high-density of employees.
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6. Retesting for those with confirmed infections
The CDC recommends serial testing for people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to determine when it is safe to leave isolation and or return to work.
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At the immediate sign of showing symptoms for COVID-19, you should get tested as a precaution for the virus. When it comes to antibody tests, it is not safe to assume that even with antibodies you are immune to the virus entirely as there is a lack of data to go off of regarding that. If you have been exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms, it is still recommended to get tested at the risk of you being asymptomatic and still spreading it to someone else. Lastly, depending on your workplace or residency, even if you have not been exposed to the virus or have contracted it, it is within the best interest of the specific area to be tested in order to prevent a potential widespread infection.
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
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