Hello everyone, back again for some much needed information about COVID-19. Let's talk about testing. There is some misconception about testing and since this episode I, (Samantha) have been tested. It was negative in case you were wondering but who knows how many times I'm going to have to do this. Talk about some much needed education. These tests were not as readily available when we recorded this episode and it still may not be depending on the location you're in but, either way we wanted to cover who needs this test, how this process works, and what it means or does not mean if you are negative or positive.
Whats the test looking for?
It's trying to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA by reverse transcription PCR
How to do the test?
Going up your nose (nasopharyngeal) is a better sample than the throat sample. So what they do, is known as a nasopharyngeal swab (this thing tickles your brain, I swear, this is not an ideal test AT ALL). If you ever have done the flu test it's similar to that just way, way deeper (VIDEO to come LOL).
In certain cases, we take lower respiratory tract specimens because they actually may be better and this is usually obtained in those patients that are admitted to the hospital. For example in patients on a vent or intubated from them we can obtain a specimen from their trachea.
If you have a productive cough (if you make phlegm) it is recommended to obtain a sample of that however, if you do not have a productive cough this does not qualify.
There have also been some virus shedding found in stool and in the blood. It is thought that if it is found in the blood it may be a sign of a more severe illness.
Note: the test is not highly sensitive which means that you can have the virus and not test positive for the test but it's highly specific which means that if you do test positive you definitely have it
Cons to the testing
Improperly performing the test (happens more often then you think because you really have to go in DEEP)
Performing the test to early from time of exposure (haven't build any immune response towards it)
Testing negative and still carrying the virus (with or without symptoms because we know that there are plenty of asymptomatic carriers these days)
Inappropriately storing the sample can affect the results of the test (OBVIOUSLY.)
Another note: Rapid tests are emerging where results may come back in less than 24 hours and some even within 4-6 hours!
Who should get the test?
The CDC has a priority list for this and it goes like this:
Priority 1: Hospitalized patients and any healthcare workers with symptoms
Priority 2: Those at higher risk of serious illness (elderly, young with comorbid conditions, people in long term care facilities, first responders) with symptoms
Priority 3: People who don't meet the above criteria with symptoms, healthcare workers and first responders without symptoms (aka just because of close contact), people with mild symptoms in communities that have major outbreaks/hospitalizations from COVID-19 as well as, critical infrastructure workers with symptoms (you can look up the full list but this includes and is not limited to grocery store workers, UPS/FEDEX employees, etc.)
NONPRIORITY: is anyone WITHOUT symptoms
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