COVID-19 has become a critical and complex issue with concerns for safety sweeping across the globe. As new strains emerge and travel mandates increase, testing for individuals and groups is becoming ever more important. The evidence that vaccination is a vital weapon in fighting this pandemic is overwhelming. The number of lives lost due to Coronavirus disease in the U.S. totaled nearly 800,000 by the end of 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has designated the three approved vaccines as safe and effective. Those vaccines have been clinically proven to reduce the risk of severe illness, an assertion backed up by a Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy news item.
As the world struggles to remain open and avoid economic disaster caused by lockdowns, testing options must increase to match the demand, and not just in volume. From fit-to-fly designations and attending large functions, to maintaining safety in schools and the workplace, COVID-19 testing has become more than just an indicator of disease—it’s the front-line safety measure to mitigate the spread of aggressive, debilitating disease visit to know more about PCR.
WHY EVERYONE SHOULD GET TESTED
COVID-19 tests are easy to administer, and the quick results can pinpoint outbreak, identify risks, and slow the spread. People who test positive can help through contact tracing while their past travels and contacts are fresh in their memory.
Likewise, people who work in occupations involving direct public contact—healthcare workers, educators, and retail workers—must test frequently. The current availability of COVID-19 testing is the best safeguards against mass outbreaks.
TYPES OF TESTING AVAILABLE
COVID-19 tests detect the virus that causes COVID-19, or the antibodies your body makes after being infected by the virus. The virus detection test detects a present COVID-19 infection.
The tests for antibodies, on the other hand, can disclose a past infection by detecting proteins that your immune system produces to fight infection. So, antibody tests are not for diagnosing current infections. Those tests help scientists learn more about how our immune system defends against the virus and can lead to so-called herd immunity—or population-level protection.
Most COVID-19 testing is done with a nasal swab, which tests for the presence of the virus. Test results can arrive between hours or take a few days. The antigen and antibody test results are usually available in 15 minutes.
COVID-19 testing is available nationwide from local health care, health departments, pharmacies. FDA-approved home testing kits are also available for purchase online or over the counter from commercial pharmaceuticals.
“The notion that COVID-19 testing technology has become available to the masses in such quantities is astounding and reassuring,” says Blaine Graboyes, co-founder of Gather Labs—a boutique wellness clinic offering state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing for large groups, corporations, and community businesses. “We must embrace the technology that keeps our communities safe and work together to maintain health and mitigate risk as the world reunites in person.”
WHO SHOULD GET TESTED
The COVID-19 variants have proven aggressive and indiscriminate as people of all ages, races, and nationalities succumb to the disease. What has been proven is the effectiveness of the vaccine in reducing symptoms and saving patients from hospitalization and long-term consequences. Anyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated) experiencing any of the following symptoms should consider getting a COVID-19 test:
- Body or muscle aches
- Fatigue, fever, or chills
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Recent loss of taste or smell
- Runny nose, congestion, sore throat, or cough
- Vomiting or nausea
Unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated people who have had close contact with an infected person—i.e., have been less than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period should be tested. An infected person can pass on COVID-19 beginning from two days before they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Likewise, unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated people who have participated in or attended mass gatherings or in crowded indoor settings should be tested.
Fully vaccinated people should wear a face mask indoors in public for 14 days, especially after close contact with an infected person.
Fully vaccinated people may also be tested:
- To show proof of a negative test result before boarding a flight
- 3-5 days after completing an international airline flight
- 5-7 days after being exposed to someone known to have COVID-19
The availability of quality tests with accurate, rapid results provides clear information to inform next steps when COVID-19 is detected. As technology continues to advance and refine the testing process, the ability to diagnose COVID-19 and respond swiftly can stem the tide of super spreader events, providing additional protection and prevention in the fight to avoid further pandemic conditions.