Working in a clinic that performs testing for COVID 19, it's become clear: nobody REALLY likes having their nose poked or their brain tickled by the dreaded medical swab of a COVID test. So why does anyone do it? What's the point of testing?
Well, the first answer seems obvious: diagnosing COVID, of course! The results of a COVID test help determine your next steps: quarantine, isolation, masking, treating symptoms, hydrating, the list goes on.
But is there a point to testing for COVID beyond the obvious "Well, do I have COVID or not?" - What else does testing do for us?
To quote Our World in Data: "Testing is our window onto the pandemic and how it is spreading. Without testing, we have no way of understanding the pandemic." (Ritchie et al, 2020). It rings true: without testing and collection of that information, we have no data, there's no real way to understand how this pandemic, or any for that matter, is spreading. Confirmation of cases comes from - you guessed it, diagnostic testing! Public response to the pandemic depends greatly on the data the global community at large receives from testing conducted around the world - It determines what actions are put into place, what measures are taken, and what is done to help protect public health, and helps determine what is working and what is not.
That's not the only other reason to test, it can also help reduce the severity of the illness and affect the course of treatment - which could potentially even save your life! According to the National Institutes of Health: "A positive test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves – reducing the chances that they will infect others and allowing them to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing disease severity and the risk of long-term disability, or death." (NIH, 2020).
That being said, there's never a better time to get tested than now: whether you're travelling, you have symptoms, you were exposed, or you just want to know: Steese Immediate Care offers walk-in rapid testing for COVID-19 Monday through Saturday, no appointment needed!
Hannah Ritchie, Edouard Mathieu, Lucas Rodés-Guirao, Cameron Appel, Charlie Giattino, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Diana Beltekian and Max Roser (2020) - "Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus' [Online Resource]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Why covid-19 testing is the key to getting back to normal. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/why-covid-19-testing-key-getting-back-normal