How and where to get tested for coronavirus

If you are concerned about coronavirus, how do you get tested? Many consumers are asking that question. Getting tested for coronavirus is not easy and that is an understatement. Action News spoke with one local man who just got back from a hot zone with symptoms.

"I'm feeling worse and worse as the day is going on. I have intermittent chills, I have body aches," said Brian Freedman of Ardmore, Montgomery County.

Freedman is a food and travel writer. He just returned from a research trip to Egypt, which is a hot zone for COVID-19.

"Finally this morning I woke up it felt like my throat was on fire," he said.

He is trying desperately to get tested, but said he can't get anyone to do it.

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"If I were the relevant medical authorities, I would want to test me for the sake of the community," he said.

"Testing in this region and other regions it's really, really hard to get a test. So we think when testing becomes immediately available, we're going to see the numbers go up tremendously," said Dr. Judd Hollander of Jefferson Health Emergency Medicine.

Here's what health experts we spoke to advise you do:

If you think you need a test, immediately call your doctor or healthcare provider. But be aware many don't have the protective equipment they need to take a sample and as Freedman has learned, others may be unwilling to test for other reasons.

"He said you fall outside the matrix to get tested. Sorry," he said

If your provider can take the sample, here's what will happen:

She or he will have to take the sample from you in their facility where you can expect to have your nose or throat swabbed.

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Then your doctor's office will send that sample to a state lab, Quest Diagnostics, or LabCorp for testing.

However, "They cannot send a patient down the block to the local LabCorp or Quest facility to draw their blood. They are not doing that. They will not let those patients in," said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh the Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Your lab results will then get sent back to your doctor

LabCorp and Quest say the turnaround time is 3 to 4 days.

Right now no retail clinic or urgent care that we know of is able to offer testing.

CVS said while its MinuteClinics can't test for the coronavirus, it does suggest using tele-medicine channels, including MinuteClinics Video Visits, to help you figure out if testing is even necessary.

COVID-19 tests are considered "essential" under the Affordable Care Act, which means they're covered by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

If you are uninsured, you could be billed for the test at whatever rate your doctor or hospital chooses, although the government is trying to make aid available.
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