Stay up to date on COVID-19. Visit our coronavirus resource center.
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COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus originating in animals that we have never seen infect humans before. Because of this, we do not have immunity, a vaccine or treatment. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and can be spread through the air via saliva droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also can survive on surfaces.
Test kits for COVID-19 are being distributed by the CDC and commercial labs throughout the country. While test kits are becoming more available there is still a national shortage and not everyone showing symptoms will have access to testing.
Many states and local communities have set up testing centers, including drive-in testing centers, where people can efficiently and safely receive testing. Many tests can have results back in a matter of hours while others may take a couple days.
The answer to this question depends on several factors including where you live. States and local communities are designing their own guidelines to determine who receives testing and who does not. Generally, if you are displaying symptoms and/or have come into direct contact with an infected person you should call your doctor or local health department to see if they recommend testing. This recommendation will likely depend on your age, general health, if you live with an at-risk individual and the severity of your symptoms. See the CDC testing guidelines, here.
Your local community likely has a testing center where all potential COVID-19 cases are being handled. To limit exposure, many states are opening drive-in testing centers where people can be tested from their cars. Find your local drive-in testing center, here. If your community doesn’t have a drive-in testing center set up yet, call your doctor or book an online appointment with a PlushCare doctor for further assistance.
Patient’s who test positive for COVID-19 will either be told to self-isolate until 3 days after symptoms subside, and be given medical advice for symptom management or be referred to further in-person medical assistance. The doctor will consider your age, general health, risk level, and the severity of your symptoms when recommending next steps after a positive diagnosis. You can book an online appointment with a PlushCare doctor to go over what your next steps should be following a positive diagnosis. PlushCare doctors are highly trained and will continue to follow leading public health guidelines regarding all COVID-19 diagnoses and treatment.
On March 21, 2020 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its guidelines prohibiting the diagnosis of self-collected COVID-19 samples. This halted telehealth companies and commercial lab efforts to provide at-home testing kits to patients. Under these current regulations at-home testing is not a viable option for COVID-19 diagnoses in the U.S.
If you are concerned you’ve been exposed to the virus, or are experiencing symptoms a PlushCare doctor can determine if testing is necessary. Most testing centers have strict guidelines regarding who can receive a test and require a doctors note or test order from a doctor. A PlushCare physician can provide you with a test order if they deem testing beneficial to you and/or those around you. They can also give you information regarding symptom management, answer any questions you may have and even address mental health concerns such as anxiety.
Antibody testing is a blood test that can identify COVID-19 exposure. The test may indicate immunity, but more research is needed. This test is not for people currently experiencing symptoms, you must be symptom free for 10 days before you can get antibody testing. PlushCare is offering free appointments for insured in-network patients requesting antibody testing. Learn more here.
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