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Who gets tested for COVID-19?

COVID-19
Mar 19, 2020

Before you call your primary care physician, St. Joseph’s/Candler wants you to know how to be screened for possible COVID-19.

Not everybody needs to be tested for COVID-19. Thus, we will screen you first.

If you experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough and shortness of breath – we encourage you to talk to one of our virtual physicians or nurse practitioners before you come of the Emergency Department or your doctor.

Through St. Joseph’s/Candler Smart Care 24/7, you can talk to a healthcare expert when and where you need it – over the phone or via your computer. Our team of board-certified doctors and NPs provide consultation, diagnosis and treatment for minor illnesses 24/7 without an appointment.

Learn more here or download the app on your Apple or Google device.

A virtual screening has many benefits for you, healthcare workers and general public including:

  • You can speak to a healthcare expert from the comfort of your own home
  • You see a healthcare expert in a timely manner as opposed to the possibility of having to wait for an open appointment with your primary care physician.
  • If you are sick with COVID-19, or any contagious respiratory illness, you limit the risk of spreading it by not coming in contact with others.

If the SmartCare 24/7 doctor determines your symptoms are serious enough to warrant a CODIV-19 test, they will refer you to the appropriate facility.

For people with severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should seek emergent medical care. The St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital Emergency Department staffs are trained and prepared to help screen and treat patients for COVID-19.

Who gets tested?

For the most part, the decision to get a test is determined by the doctor based on the latest guidance. There are limited resources in our market currently for testing, so doctors are following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health in administering the tests. Again, not everybody needs to be tested.

 The CDC says these are priorities for testing as of today:

  • Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
  • Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease.
  • Anyone within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan) within 14 days of their symptom onset.

Most patients who do contract COVID-19 – whether confirmed or not - will have mild symptoms and should self-isolate for 14 days. Testing for these patients is indicated only if the symptoms worsen. 

How can we help you?