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Why COVID-19 testing is not recommended for everyone

Update: In addition to cough, fever and shortness of breath, possible symptoms of COVID-19 have been expanded to also include sore throat, weakness, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of smell or taste, and chills. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please access the free screening questionnaire via MyBSWHealth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testing is not necessary for everyone who experiences symptoms of COVID-19. Wondering whether you or a loved one needs to be tested? Here’s what you should know.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — including a cough, shortness of breath and feeling feverish — we first recommend you complete the free COVID-19 screening questionnaire available inside MyBSWHealth.

The results of this questionnaire may provide reassurance about low risk with recommendations for hygiene and social distancing, or they may recommend further evaluation if you are at higher risk.

After completing the screening questionnaire, you may be prompted to start an eVisit. Your eVisit submission will be evaluated by a Baylor Scott & White provider who can advise you on appropriate next steps and, if necessary, navigate you to a specimen collection site. 

Testing decisions are made by state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. Ultimately, based on your individual situation and symptoms, your doctor or the clinician evaluating your eVisit submission may or may not recommend testing.

The CDC has issued guidance for certain situations that may indicate a testing priority, including:

  • Hospitalized patients who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19
  • People who have chronic medical conditions, older adults and others in an immunocompromised state who are showing symptoms
  • Healthcare personnel and first responders, if there has been exposure to a person with suspected COVID-19 

Although there is no treatment specifically approved for COVID-19, most people have mild symptoms and can recover fully at home with fluids, rest and over-the-counter medications. Symptoms typically improve after about a week for most people.

If you are mildly ill with symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home, complete the screening questionnaire within MyBSWHealth and/or contact your healthcare provider to see whether testing is needed. If you begin to experience severe symptoms, seek care immediately.

While you seek the appropriate medical advice, monitor your symptoms and watch for signs of a medical emergency. In adults, these may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If available, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit BSWHealth.com.

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Why COVID-19 testing is not recommended for everyone