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How to get tested for COVID-19: AdventHealth addresses questions

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Written by Akers Editorial

In an effort to address the public’s questions about testing for COVID-19, or the coronavirus, AdventHealth issued a release about its testing capabilities.

Because of limited supplies and resources, tests are limited and require a physician’s order. Physicians will order a test only for people who meet testing criteria as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are no community drive-up/drive-thru testing sites currently at AdventHealth, whose sites include AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares.

The public cannot come to an AdventHealth hospital, physician practice or Centra Care and order their own COVID-19 test. Citizens are urged to not overwhelm any health-care facilities, which need to be available for people who truly need medical assistance.

AdventHealth is testing patients who meet the evaluation criteria for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Florida, the release states. The acquisition of three specialized testing devices allows AdventHealth to alleviate the testing burden from public agencies, while also providing patients and physicians with expanded access to the test.

“It’s important that we support our community and public health agencies in identifying patients who become infected with COVID-19 and share that information with our public health partners,” Dr. Vincent Hsu, infection control officer at AdventHealth, says in the release. “As COVID-19 continues to make an impact in Central Florida, it’s key that we use our resources to test those at highest risk, so we can quickly identify and treat the infected, and help protect our greater community.”

Frequently asked questions

Q: Where do I go if I want to be tested?

If you are sick and exhibiting symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you should seek treatment with your primary care physician or Centra Care. Physicians are stringently adhering to the testing criteria set by the CDC to determine whether a patient qualifies for a COVID-19 test. A doctor will likely test you for other illnesses, such as the flu, before ordering a COVID-19 test.

Q: Should I go to the ER if I think I need a COVID-19 test?

Unless you are experiencing severe respiratory distress, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, you should not go to an ER for a COVID-19 test. Physicians at AdventHealth practices and Centra Care can take a collection sample from those patients who meet the testing criteria as set by the CDC. The emergency department should be used only by people having a medical emergency, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.

Q: What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?

If you have traveled internationally or been on a cruise, you should self-quarantine for 14 days immediately upon returning from your travels, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. If you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath during those 14 days, contact your physician and disclose your travel history. Your physician will advise you of the next steps. If you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, go to the ER.

Q: Can I get a coronavirus test at AdventHealth if I am not sick?

No. If you’re not sick, it’s unlikely that you have COVID-19. Currently, all tests are designated for people who are exhibiting symptoms and meet the testing criteria set by CDC.

Q: I have a fever and cough. Will I automatically be tested for COVID-19?

No. Fever and cough are common symptoms for other illnesses, including the flu. Physicians will evaluate your symptoms, travel history, potential for exposure and other factors and determine whether a test is appropriate. They also will test you for other viruses, including the flu.

Q: How can I be tested?

A physician must order a COVID-19 test and will only order a test if the patient meets the testing criteria as defined by the CDC.

Q: Where can I be tested?

A physician must order a COVID-19 test. If a doctor deems it appropriate to test you for COVID-19, the sample would be collected in the physician’s office. The test itself is conducted through an AdventHealth lab. This lab is not the same as the consumer-facing labs where patients go for outpatient bloodwork.

Q: Are the results instantaneous?

No. Unlike a flu test, which can be administered on-site with quick results, the COVID-19 test takes up to seven days from the time of collection sample to results being shared with the patient. During that time, patients will be instructed to follow CDC guidelines and isolate themselves.

Q: When would I get results from a test?

Up to seven days after administration of the test.

Q: Does AdventHealth share results with the Florida Department of Health?

Yes. AdventHealth will share positive COVID-19 test results with the Florida Department of Health as required by regulation.

Q: Does AdventHealth have an unlimited number of testing supplies?

No. There is a limited number of testing supplies. In order to be good stewards of our resources and quickly identify people who have the highest likelihood of infection, we must limit tests only to people who meet the criteria as set by the CDC.

Q: I have questions about COVID-19 or AdventHealth’s testing capabilities. Whom can I call?

Call the AdventHealth Coronavirus Information Line at 877-VIRUSHQ or visit coronavirussignsandsymptoms.com.

Q: Are the tents at AdventHealth hospitals for testing?

The tents are not currently in use and are part of our preparedness efforts. There are no drive-thru testing sites at AdventHealth today.

Elective procedures and surgeries

With input from surgeons, proceduralists, anesthesiologists, intensivists and nursing colleagues, AdventHealth has decided to continue performing all emergent and urgent procedures. However, physicians are being asked to review their scheduled elective cases. Elective, non-time-sensitive cases should be deferred if possible, based on the patient’s needs and physician’s clinical judgment.

“Every decision we make is to protect patients, physicians and team members, and, ultimately, our greater community,” Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer for acute care services at AdventHealth, says in the release. “We have a sobering responsibility to halt the spread of COVID-19.”

 

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