15 Jul COVID-19 Conundrum – Testing, Symptoms, Where to go
I’ve just made an appointment to get a private COVID-19 Test. I haven’t been exposed and I have no symptoms, so I’m paying $85 out of pocket for the test. The reason is that I plan to visit with my father, who calls himself old even though he’s only 70 and in great shape. (I know some of you reading this who are 90 are rolling your eyes!) I haven’t seen my dad for 9 months. I’m getting the test right before I drive up to stay with him for a few days.
I am very aware the test only shows a single point in time, I could get exposed the very next day after a negative reading. So I’ll continue to wear my masks, stay six feet from other people, use hand sanitizer, and wash my hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. (Recently there has been a lot of talk about exposure to COVID-19 through fecal matter, another reminder of why hand washing is so critical.)
Los Angeles County and San Diego County remain on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch list, meaning there is continued community spread of COVID-19 at a rate that is causing renewed closures.
To deal with reduced testing capacity, physicians are prioritizing COVID-19 tests to people with symptoms, those who have had contact with a COVID-19 positive person within the last 14 days, and those who work in nursing facilities, where the outbreaks have been much more prevalent and dangerous. Some areas are also prioritizing health care workers who work outside of facilities.
With basic insurance, there are places that offer no cost testing as long as certain conditions are met, the federal Health and Human Services Agency has a link to various locations through this website:
In Los Angeles County, the department of public health is listing the following for priority testing: People with the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, also people working or living in places such as skilled nursing facilities, group homes, residential care facilities and those who are homeless, along with people who are have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Those seeking a test are advised to ask their medical provider first, or seek out a testing site to make an appointment via this link: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Nearby/index.html?appid=81ab0ed7f4c2425b9a5ba5550745fb6e
In the City of Los Angeles, there is a partnership with Curative for COVID-19 tests for healthcare workers, even those not showing symptoms. A person must book an appointment online for one of 8 locations, registering via email or a text message. If the health care worker has insurance, then Curative will bill the insurance company, but otherwise there is no out of pocket cost and health insurance is not required for testing. The test involves a swab of saliva. However, I tried to make an appointment using this system and there was only one location in Crenshaw that had any testing times available, the rest showed “0” appointments available. https://la.curativeinc.com/welcome/screen/symptoms
There are also concierge medical practices in areas like Beverly Hills offering in home tests, such as MyConsiergeMD, for an extra fee, or drive by testing. https://www.myconciergemd.com/online-scheduling-checkout/
US Specialty Labs in Sorrento Valley in San Diego County offers three different types of tests, one that tests for antibodies, the sign of a previous infection, one that tests for active COVID-19 with saliva and one that tests for active COVID-19 with a blood sample. The rates of accuracy vary, as so the costs, from $39 to $85 dollars, plus a $25 rush handling fee. Results are said to be available same day, within 48 hours, or within a week. https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/chs57nnv/
But remember, a test is only as good as your exposure up to that moment. So don’t rely on them or think they reduce risk magically. Following social distancing and wearing a mask when within 6 feet of another person, along with washing hands with soap and water multiple times a day, using hand sanitizer after touching objects and avoiding placing your hands in your eyes, nose or mouth, remain your best protections against COVID-19.