Why COVID-19 diagnostic testing?
COVID-19 diagnostic testing is done to find out if you're currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Why it's done
In the U.S., a COVID-19 diagnostic test is needed if:
- You have COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, tiredness or shortness of breath
- You don't have symptoms but you've had close contact with someone who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus or is suspected of having the virus. Close contact means you’ve been within 6 feet (2 meters) of a person who has COVID-19. But if you've tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months, you don’t need to get tested. If you’ve been fully vaccinated and you’ve had close contact with someone who has the COVID-19 virus, get tested 3 to 5 days after you’ve had contact with them.
- You've participated in activities that increase your risk of COVID-19 and did not stay at least 6 feet away from others — examples include travel, large gatherings or crowded indoor settings.
- Your doctor or other health care professional or your public health department recommends a test
Certain groups are considered high priority for diagnostic testing. These include people with COVID-19 signs and symptoms who:
- Work in a health care facility or as first responders
- Live or work in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, or other places where people are housed closely together, such as prisons or shelters
- Are being cared for in a hospital
Other people may be given priority for testing depending on local health department guidelines for monitoring COVID-19 in individual communities.
Some people who are infected with the COVID-19 virus may be asymptomatic, meaning they don't have any signs or symptoms. But they can still transmit the virus to others. In some areas of the U.S., testing is available to asymptomatic people. If people without symptoms have a positive test result, they should follow guidelines for self-isolation to help curb the spread of the virus.
The availability of COVID-19 diagnostic testing and where to get tested may vary depending on where you live and the recommendations of your local public health officials.
Full articles: www.mayoclinic.org