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COVID-19 Testing Requirements

April 16, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides general guidelines for COVID-19 testing, but local doctors and health departments ultimately make the decision on whether someone needs to be tested. The Sydney Care mobile app's new Coronavirus Assessment tool gives you a quick and easy way to assess your symptoms and find a testing facility in your area.  Sydney Care is free and available on your mobile device on Google Play and Apple Store, and works together with your Sydney Health or Engage Wellbeing apps.

These general testing guidelines can help you make informed decisions:

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.  Testing is still mostly reserved for people who likely have the disease. Priority is given to people displaying symptoms, are at high risk for complications or are essential workers particularly healthcare workers. You may qualify for a test if you:

  • Are showing symptoms of COVID-19 — 100.4 degree or higher fever, cough, shortness of breath.

  • Are 60 years of age or older.

  • Have an underlying condition such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and you also have COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the disease or

  • Have traveled to an area with a high number of cases.

The test itself should only last about 10 seconds. A health care professional usually swabs the back of your nasal passage with a tool similar to a cotton swab and sends it off to be tested. Getting your results usually takes one to five days.

If waiting for results or if you test positive, you need to isolate yourself. Avoid contact with other people, including those living with you. Clean and disinfect any surfaces you regularly touch. Wear a mask when you move around your house and have family members wear masks if they interact with you. Follow your doctor's orders for resting, staying hydrated and managing symptoms. If, at any time, you struggle to breathe, seek emergency care. Generally, self-isolation should last about 14 days or until 3 days after symptoms have gone away. Your doctor will let you know when it's safe to be around family or leave the house.

Continue to follow social distancing guidelines to protect loved ones. Even if your test comes back negative, practice social distancing, stay home and wash your hands often to prevent the spread and keep loved ones safe and healthy.

Keeping you informed about testing, so you know all your options, is one simple way we hope to help give you a little peace of mind.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.