Covid-19 testing & the Holidays

We are in the eye of a health care crisis storm.   

November 23, 2020 by Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce / Dr. Mark Pierce

Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing by 25% week over week.  We have to take this seriously to protect our citizens until the vaccine is available, which is now just around the corner.  Yes, we are that close.  But not there yet.  By following the listed guidelines, we can save tens of thousands of lives, not to mention the extraordinary suffering people will have to endure if we don’t.

Please follow the guidelines – it’s not forever, but the death of a loved one, is.

COVID-19 TESTING: 

            There are many good reasons to get a test done- and also some that are not helpful.  I’m here to help you get a better understanding of when, why, and then what.

A positive Covid-19 test can confirm the presence of the virus, a negative test result cannot confirm the absence of the virus. It may be present and too early to detect.

BENEFITS OF TESTING:

            Having a positive test can confirm your symptoms are Covid-19.  A negative test, with the same symptoms doesn’t rule out Covid-19.  With symptoms you still need to follow Quarantine Guidelines.

            If symptomatic, a telemedicine visit with your doctor can help prepare you for any changes that might occur in your health and wellness.  

             At the present time, no one is testing positive for influenza – so we can confidently deduce that any of the above-mentioned symptoms are Covid and should be managed as such for public health protection.

            Community spread makes tracing impossible, therefore individuals are left to keep track of who they’ve been in close contact with.  It helps if you can keep a log of where you go, with whom, and if you were conscientiously wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing.  If you are attending social gatherings with people you don’t know, you can see how tracing would be impossible.  Then any spread is considered community spread and very difficult to manage. 

            This is why right now, while we are in the severe upswing in Covid cases, it is imperative to minimize our exposure.  In the USA both hospitalizations and deaths are increasing 25% week over week.  This is a public health crisis.

WHEN TESTING IS USEFUL:

  1. You are feeling ill; extreme fatigue, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, nausea, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell and or taste and don’t know of any exposure.
  2. You have a known direct exposure to someone who has tested positive and you now have symptoms
  3. You work with vulnerable and at-risk clients or family.
  4. If you need a formally documented positive test to receive financial benefits.
  5. You are an essential worker, and need to keep working, frequent testing is helpful to know you are not asymptomatically or pre symptomatically spreading the infection.

WHEN TESTING IS NOT USEFUL:

  1. You want to go to a holiday event and feel safer.
  2. You were just exposed in the past 24-48 hours (you need to quarantine with any known exposure)
  3. You are just curious
  4. You are looking for negative result to give you a free pass of safety
  5. If you have been exposed and are quarantined, no need to test. UNLESS you are an essential worker.

ASYMPTOMATIC SCREENING:

If you work in close proximity to others and one person tests positive, the entire staff can get tested in search of other positives to allow for more immediate isolation of everyone positive.  The negative results are not ensuring everyone else is negative.  They would need to be tested 3-5 days later to confirm their current status.

SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT TESTING:

  1. There is a finite amount of testing that can be done by the collection personnel and the laboratories.  If they are inundated with nonurgent testing, they can’t get to the tests that are more urgent.
  2. The chance of a false negative is higher than a false positive.  If your exposure was very recent it may take up to 14 days for the virus to be detectable.  You can test negative one day – and the next day test positive.  It’s just a snapshot.
  3.  A negative result cannot be used as A FREE PASS to socialize, not wear a mask, not social distance, etc.

THE ROLE OF ANTIBODY SCREENING:

  1. Determine if you did in fact contract Covid-19 and now have antibodies.
  2. Antibodies typically show up after 21 days from infection onset.
  3. The actual immunity from antibodies is being studied without conclusive results at this time.

In summary, while a positive Covid-19 test can confirm the presence of the virus, a negative test result cannot confirm the absence of the virus. It may be present and too early to detect.

COVID PROTECTION SHOPPING LIST:

  • Pulse Oximeter (you can purchase on Amazon for under $20)
  • Low dose (81mg) Aspirin (Take one daily prophylactically once you are cleared by your physician)
  • Vit D3 – 5,000 – 10,000 daily
  • Zinc Throat Lozenges
  • Extra face masks
  • Clorox wipes
  • Isopropyl Alcohol

NEXT ARTICLE…

HOW DO I QUARANTINE?

Helpful Holiday Information:


By Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce

In close collaboration with the CDC and Dr. Mark Pierce