DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — With a limited number of tests available for COVID-19, whether or not you can get tested for the virus depends on where you live and how bad your symptoms might be. If you’re wondering whether you should be tested, here are three signs you might need to contact a medical professional:
You show common symptoms and are in a prioritized group
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
Initially, the CDC was only recommending testing for people with exposure to an infected person. However, all that changed once community spread was confirmed in the United States. In response, the CDC changed its recommendations to allow anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms to be tested as long as a doctor approved the request.
Maureen Ferran, Associate Professor of Biology at Rochester Institute of Technology, noted it’s not feasible to test everyone who is sick in the US. In an article published by The Conversation, Ferran wrote most health officials believe it is important to prioritize the testing of people who need it the most: those at high risk such as health care workers who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients; symptomatic people in areas with high infection rates; and people 65 years of age and older with chronic health issues, such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
The CDC says you should get immediate medical attention if you experience any of these COVID-19 emergency warning sings: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.
Exposure to an infected person
If you’re considered a close contact who has been exposed to a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, you’re considered high-priority. In some cases, doctors have asked asymptomatic people to monitor their temperature and quarantine. In other cases, they’ve chosen to give those people COVID-19 tests.
If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should contact a medical professional for further guidance.
The CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.
You make it through Apple’s COVID-19 screening site
Apple on Friday released a website and an iOS app that allow users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms, marking another response to the pandemic by a major tech platform.
Both tools were developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Apple said in a statement to CNN Business. The app and website include a questionnaire and information about the novel coronavirus.
The software may suggest you self-isolate, seek professional medical advice or try to get tested.