If more COVID-19 testing is available, why are so many untested?

Although there is more COVID-19 testing available, many are still not able to get tested.

There have been reports of people who have become sick and even died without being tested.

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t changed anything about the reasons someone should seek medical care -- if you feel like you can’t manage your symptoms at home, then you should be evaluated by a medical professional and treated.

Initially, medical experts focused on the main symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath as reasons someone should be evaluated for COVID-19. That’s because people with those symptoms tend to develop more severe disease and they’re more likely to need supportive care.

Over time as we’ve seen more patients with COVID-19 and we’ve discovered it can present with a much wider range of problems that can also become serious. Things like diarrhea with vomiting and loss of appetite, severe muscle pain and extreme fatigue. Problems like those might produce dehydration and fainting, or signal a different problem like blood clots or heart damage.

Once someone is severe enough to need medical care, it is very helpful for us to know if COVID-19 could be the cause because can help predict someones course.

However, even when someone tests positive for COVID-19 -- if we can manage their symptoms -- hospitalization isn’t necessary, but that person would still need to remain vigilant at home for any worsening symptoms.

Even if you have some of the less serious symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, or even loss of smell -- it’s reasonable to assume you might be infected. Testing doesn’t necessarily change treatment and when you feel like you need medical help, you should seek it, regardless of whether you’ve been tested.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.