As we try to flatten the curve to stem the pressure on our healthcare systems, the importance of robust testing for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has become more important than ever. Working under direction from California leadership, clinics such as ours are now offering COVID-19 tests to patients who are medically eligible. At Fleur Health in Rancho Mirage, CA our first priority is your continued health and well-being, which is why we are encouraging our patients to contact our clinic if they are interested in COVID-19 Testing. Before you contact our office, learn everything you need to know about these tests.
What Is COVID-19 Testing?
A COVID-19 test is a screening that determines whether you currently have the virus. The test is performed on patients who are currently exhibiting symptoms of the virus; largely to patients who are in high-risk categories. As of right now, the testing at our clinic is reserved for current patients.
Here are a few things you should know about testing:
Is COVID-19 Testing Accurate?
The testing method used to detect COVID-19 is very basic and is capable of detecting live viral shedding from small samples. The tests for this virus are highly regulated, accurate, and are processed by state labs that partner with the CDC.
Who Should Have COVID-19 Testing?
When testing first began, tests were performed on patients who were currently exhibiting viral symptoms, people who have been in contact with the patient, and patients in high-risk categories, such as those who have diabetes or heart disease. Now, public health officials are no longer trying to track the spread of the virus, so testing is now focused on patients who are symptomatic or who are in high-risk categories.
How Is the Test Performed?
The test is performed with a basic nasopharyngeal swab, which is a 6-inch cotton swab similar to a Q-Tip. The swab is inserted into the nostril until the cotton can reach the back of the sinus cavity; the swab is then rotated several times for 15 seconds to collect a viral sample. This process is then repeated on the other nostril before the sample is stored in a sterile container and sent to a lab. It is important to note that proper testing requires a swab of both nostrils.
Why Both Nostrils?
Public health officials recommend swabbing both nostrils to collect a sample because we are still trying to understand how the viral shedding of this virus behaves. It is possible that the virus is more present at the base of one side of the cavity than the other. Collecting viral loads from both nostrils ensures that your test is as accurate as possible.
What Can You Expect During Testing?
The medical professional who performed your test will be wearing PPE, or personal protective equipment. This PPE may include goggles, a face shield, face masks, a cap to cover the hair, gloves, and a gown for the body. The medical professional will ask you to close your eyes and tilt your head back while the sample is being collected. The test will only take about 30 seconds to 1 minute to complete.
How Soon Can You Get Results?
While we are able to get results for testing much more quickly than before, you may still need to wait for results. During earlier tests, patients waited for 2 to 3 days before results were available; now, patients can receive test results within 24 or less. Some tests are able to be processed within half an hour. We will let you know when you can expect your results.
Is Testing Free?
As of March 28, 2020, the California Department of Public Health announced that all COVID-19 tests are free to patients who are medically eligible. Medical eligibility is determined by their symptoms and if they are part of high-risk groups. If you are not insured or not sure if you have coverage, please check with your local community health center or hospital to see if the fees can be waived.
Will You Need an Appointment?
Following recommendations from the CDPH, we ask that patients who believe they require testing or screening for COVID-19 please call the clinic ahead of time. Like many other testing sites, we are not currently accepting walk-ins for testing.
How Do You Know if You Need COVID-19 Testing?
The best way to know if you require testing for COVID-19 is to check your symptoms. The main symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever over 100.4 degrees, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and a dry, non-productive cough. The majority of patients who test positive for this virus have one or more of these symptoms. You may also require testing if you are an essential employee, such as employees of grocery stores, pharmacies, food delivery and preparation, or in healthcare.
Be Proactive With Your Health With COVID-19 Testing!
The best way to protect yourself during this COVID-19 epidemic is to be proactive with your health. Seek testing for this virus if you suspect you have symptoms or if you have come into contact with someone who has the virus. Testing is the best way to stay safe and stay healthy. If you think you may need this test, please contact Fleur Health in Rancho Mirage, CA ahead of time to schedule your COVID-19 Testing today.