Testing criteria for COVID-19 is critical

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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Many people are worried about getting tested for COVID-19, but testing is not open to everyone.

As the number of cases grow, Dr. Richard Gomez says the qualifications for who may get tested for COVID-19 become critical.

Stormont Vail opened a drive-thru testing clinic for COVID-19 Tuesday, but not just anyone can pull up.

Dr. Gomez says doctors must approve the test and the first criteria are symptoms, "Currently, the testing is if you have symptoms of a fever, a dry cough or any other respiratory symptoms, you should call your physician or your provider."

He said the step is to communicate with your primary physician, because even symptoms don't guarantee a test.

"We do have a priority system here. So, people like you think are in the hospital right now, in the intensive care units that need the testing done, they're the first priority," Dr. Gomez explained. "The next priority might be someone that's been in contact with a known patient is positive also."

Dr. Gomez says they have noticed something during the testing process.

"If someone has symptoms that might be COVID, the odds are now we are finding more often those individuals might be testing positive for the flu virus," he explained. "That's why the governments local and national are asking everybody to limit contact for the next few weeks."

Dr. Gomez says there will be enough tests for everyone who needs one, "Now laboratories like Quest and Lab Core and some hospital laboratories have been able to bring the test up.- It's going to be a gradual time of increase test availability and that's the other reason why the criteria for testing is followed."

He also reminds you of other resources while hospitals and clinics are busy.

"Some clinics, because of the heavy phone volume have gone to doing tele-medicine, which means you can go online," Dr. Gomez said.

Here is the CDC Testing Criteria for COVID-19:

-Call your physician, if you have experienced a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing

-Call your physician, if you have been around an individual who has been tested positive for COVID-19

-Physicians will decide if you need to be tested

If you do meet the CDC criteria for testing, you'll be directed to

, or another location.