Learn about COVID-19 testing from Infectious Disease expert at National Jewish Health, Shannon Kasperbauer, MD.
If someone had symptoms of a lower respiratory tract infection, including a significant cough, shortness of breath and fever, that would definitely be a trigger to go in and see your local provider right away, and then they will make the decision. Do you fall into that category of someone that should be tested or do we have other explanations for those symptoms? Because, again, right now there are so many other pathogens in the community that can cause those same kind of symptoms than this particular virus.
So there's a really specific criteria that the CDC has released to us to work up what we consider a suspect, and the first is that someone needs to have symptoms. So they need to have a fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms like a cough or shortness of breath. But beyond the symptoms, they also need to have a significant exposure risk. So that exposure right now is travel and exposure to people where there's high communities spread like China, like South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy.
The second important person to consider who should need testing would be someone that has symptoms and has a contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. Now, there's a third category of patients that the CDC has recommended testing, and that is a patient that has a severe acute respiratory syndrome. This is a hospitalized patient that has pneumonia and we have ruled out other causes of that pneumonia.
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
Download COVID-19 Materials