“Anyone who needs a test can get a test.” But Who Needs One?

So, I’m pretty sure it’s allergies. Weird, itchy rash pops up on my neck Monday mid-morning. Scratchy sore throat, sneezing, headaches. Then I get hit with a huge wave of fatigue Tuesday afternoon. Took a nap Tuesday, and slept a lot Wednesday morning. Have my usual sporadic heart racing. My normal temperature stays in the low to mid 97s. I started to feel like my temp was going up after my Tuesday nap. It was, but not a fever. I stayed in the high 98s for about 24hrs. Not a fever, just elevated temp for my normal.

Take the Covid-19 screener to allay my concerns. This is just allergies. Screener says I should get tested. Call my doctor saying I have Covid-19 concerns but think it’s just allergies. Can’t get an appointment until the next day. See that a local urgent care has VirtualCare and Covid-19 testing. Go through VirtualCare, my HMO medical group is not contracted with this urgent care, so try to find testing that is covered by insurance. Go through insurance website to have Teladoc appointment. Doc says, you’re sick with something Covid or not, you need to isolate. If you want to get tested, go through insurance covered place or public health. Local hospital doing testing and covered. Call to ask what I need to do to get tested. Must have staff doctor’s order for test. Call my doctor back to say I think I need to get tested, but need orders. Any way to get earlier appointment? No. Note on the hospital website that they are only testing with doctor’s orders and not testing mild symptoms. Call insurance company for clarification on test payment policy. Told they cover any testing even out of network. Cool. Call back the urgent care. Actually, no not covered because you have an HMO group that we are not contracted with. Great.

I still think it’s allergies. However, I’ve been staying away from family since Tuesday night just in case. Have errands to run, a family adventure planned for Friday. Obviously planning to be masked. But the screening said I should get tested. The teladoc said I should get tested. The VirtualCare receptionist said I should get tested. I feel like I should get tested, but really just want someone to say, you’re being neurotic, it’s just allergies. Not sure I’d actually be comforted by that though. I need to get tested, quickly. If I am not contagious with something, I wouldn’t have to isolate. I could help with the kids. We could go to the botanic garden at our scheduled time on Friday. If I get tested quickly, I will know if this is actually necessary. Decide to pay out of pocket for urgent care test. Results in 24-48 hours. Still need to isolate. Expecting test to come back negative. I’ll let you know.

Listen. The guidance is to isolate if you have symptoms until you are 10 days from onset of symptoms and 72hours fever-free. Sore throat and headache are symptoms. Those are symptoms of a a bunch of other things too, some contagious, some not. So testing is needed. Doctors haven’t seen Covid-19 enough to give you a once over and say, “nah, this isn’t it” with confidence. Gotta have a test. Why are people saying that we need testing? Because we can’t isolate for 24-48hrs every time we have symptoms. RELIABLE RAPID TESTING. That’s the only way forward until there are drug therapies and/or a vaccine.

Would someone less neurotic than I go about her day with a mask and sanitizer and just assume asymptomatic since the symptoms are mild? Probably. Is that good enough? Maybe. Would someone like me beat herself up if she ended up being positive and she had gone about her day? Would she be recounting every place she sneezed? Would she forgive herself if her kids or husband got sick? Would she forgive herself if she started a chain of spread to strangers and one of those strangers has long-lasting effects or succumbs to the virus?

Who NEEDS a test? Everyone, any time they have symptoms, for now.