How Are We Detecting COVID-19 Infections?

Many people ask how the nation is detecting COVID-19. The answer is simple: tests! Tests are the only way to detect a COVID-19 infection. But, the truth is that everyone doesn’t get tested. The reason for that is a lack of tests. Since the start of the global health crisis, the nation has experienced shortages of necessities ⎯ from PPE, tests, and now vaccines. The good news is that states are aware of the shortage and are working diligently to obtain more. In the meantime, they have to prioritize their current supply.

Who Gets Tested?

Healthcare providers make the tough decision of who gets tested in areas experiencing test shortages to detect new cases. Their decisions are based on the following factors.

  • Experience one or more of the warning symptoms.
  • You are older in age or have a pre-existing health condition.
  • You work or reside in a healthcare setting, such as a nursing home.

Limited tests can mean two things. It delays our accuracy with detecting COVID-19 infections. And it potentially skews the number of infectious cases. Today, states are providing agencies with more tests or opportunities for testing. Find local test locations here.

How is Testing Done?

Detecting COVID-19 is quite the process. Healthcare providers swab the inside of your nose to detect a COVID-19 infection. Remember that we believe this infection starts at the back of your throat. Thus, nasal testing helps to detect the presence of the virus. One thing to keep in mind is, your nasal passage is sensitive. The swab method can be a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully, you have options. There are now mouth and blood tests to detect an infection. An oral test could detect a current COVID-19 infection, whereas a blood test would detect exposure within the last few months.