TAMPA, Fla. — Continuing concerns over the coronavirus have people in the Tampa Bay area questioning their doctors' decision to not test them for the virus.
Strict guidelines and certain symptoms are helping doctors decide who needs to be tested for COVID-19. Tests are being reserved for cases that meet the priority criteria.
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“We have a really experienced group of individuals that have been trained in testing and whether it’s the COVID-19 virus or influenza they know what signs and symptoms to look for,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, the Executive VP and CMO for Baycare Health System.
Risk factors include:
- Traveling to a high-risk country
- Developing symptoms like a cough, fever and shortness of breath after traveling
- Being around anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19.
These factors would likely require you to be tested.
“I think we need to really preserve the tests for the individuals that are high-risk and have the symptoms,” said Dr. Anand.
On Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator in the White House, announced a new screening website through google for COVID-19 testing.
Users will answer a series of questions regarding symptoms and risk factors. If they qualify, they will move on to the next step with directions to the nearest drive-thru testing clinic.
The test will be sent to a lab and the results will eventually appear on that same website within 24-36 hours.
Google released a statement about their website:
We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time. We appreciate the support of the government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday that many people who get COVID-19 won’t display any symptoms, however, if they do, it could be very mild.
“We want to try and figure out if we can identify how much more prevalent it is among some of these populations which are not exhibiting very significant symptoms,” said Governor DeSantis.
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We e-mailed and called the governor’s office for clarification — considering tests are only being given to people with high risk factors or obvious symptoms. This was their statement:
Florida follows the guidance set forth by the CDC. If someone meets the criteria provided to Florida by the CDC, that person is tested, and can also be tested at the discretion of their local health care provider. By announcing that the state has received additional test kits, the governor is ensuring the state is prepared and has the capacity to perform needed testing, should the CDC guidance change or expand.
The Google COVID-19 screening website hasn’t been launched quite yet, but when they do, we will pass that information along to you.