Public health officials are putting out the call for broader coronavirus testing

Alan Boyle
A nurse prepares to screen a patient for coronavirus at a drive-through testing station at UW Medical Center – Northwest. (UW Medicine Photo / Randy Carnell)

Washington state public health officials have broadened their guidance to say that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or has been in close contact with a person who has the disease, should get tested as soon as possible.

  • Previously, due to supply shortages, officials prioritized testing for health care providers, first responders and those most at risk for severe illness. But now supplies of testing kits and personal protective equipment are increasing, which has led the Washington State Department of Health to expand the criteria for who should be tested.
  • Guidelines from Public Health – Seattle & King County say the most concerning symptoms are a cough or shortness of breath. People should call their health care provider if they’re experiencing those symptoms, or two or more of the following symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
  • Symptomatic people should isolate themselves, even before they’re tested — and those who have been in close contact should get tested as well, even if they don’t have symptoms. Most testing is done through health care providers, but if you don’t have one who can conduct the test, call the King County COVID-19 call center at 206-477-3977 or check the sites listed on the Public Health Insider blog.

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