COVID-19 Testing - When and whom to test?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This novel virus and the disease caused by it were unknown before an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
SARS-CoV-2 exhibits a very high level of infectivity. Since December 2019, it has rapidly spread to over 100 countries and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March 2020.
COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system leading to fever, cough, breathlessness, and pneumonia. Although the exact mechanism of how the disease spreads is still being investigated, it is largely known to spread through droplets produced while coughing and sneezing. These droplets settle on inanimate surfaces/ hands of individuals and can survive for prolonged periods, thus infecting those who come in contact with it.
Dr. Tedros, the Director-General of the WHO, tweeted on March 16 ㄧ "We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected #COVID19 case. If they test positive, isolate them, identify their contacts and test them too.”
The world is coming together to find a cure as well as a vaccine for this pandemic. While they do their bit, what can we, as doctors and common citizens, do? Our best shot is to be correctly educated and fully aware of the symptoms of this disease and the resources available to us.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AND OTHERS?
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing. Ensure that all surfaces of your hands are covered.
- If soap and water are unavailable, then use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- In case you have symptoms of cold and cough, wear a mask.
- Sneeze/cough into a tissue. Throw the tissue in a waste bin. If tissue is not available, then use the inside of your elbow. Immediately, wash your hands or sanitize them.
- Clean and disinfect - Frequently touched surfaces like tabletops, phones, switches, handles, and doorknobs.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING SERIOUS ILLNESS/POOR OUTCOMES?
- Older adults and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, diabetes or any other immunosuppressive disease)
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TESTING MAY INCLUDE:
- Individuals with fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (cough/shortness of breath) who have a history of travel to COVID-19 affected areas within the past 14 days OR
- Individuals with fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (cough/shortness of breath) who have a history of contact with a positive COVID-19 case within the past 14 days
Consider someone for testing or get yourself tested if you show a combination of all these symptoms, and not just one out of the many and are among the high-risk groups.
At InfeXn, we are doing our bit by testing for coronavirus. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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