COVID CHRONICLES Day 3

Testing and Other Advice

Today makes it an even dozen days in quarantine (see yesterday’s post for explanation). Another day with no fever or cough for my wife. But her energy continues to lag and she’s feeling a little down today. The public health nurse cautioned her not to overestimate her recovery so she doesn’t relapse. As a result, she’s laying low. I remain asymptomatic and have been sleeping well. At some point it becomes hard to distinguish between confinement lethargy and virus-fighting fatigue.

I want to address some questions that have been raised since I told people about this. My responses have been validated by medical professionals on the front lines and elsewhere (special thanks to @kristylove777 on Twitter). I am collecting sources if you want backup.

  1. In an ideal world, everyone would be tested. But that horse left the barn a couple of months ago, if it were ever possible. The country of Iceland is coming the closest to testing all their citizens. More about that in a moment.
  2. Since there are not enough tests for everyone, testing is LIMITED to certain CDC Criteria. Lisa had to go through two telephone calls and a video-chat before they offered her a test. The equation appears to be Symptoms + Medical History Risk + Who Was Potentially Affected = Testing Triage Decision. My wife had all the symptoms, has some lung-related issues in her medical history and potentially infected at least three people in their 80s and a pregnant woman, to say nothing of the thousand people she/we palled around with on our last night in New York. We also live in a household of 10.
  3. In many places, front line medical professionals aren’t even able to get tested. If you’re interested in advocacy or helping, that’s a great place to focus.
  4. Testing does NOT prevent infection. Testing does NOT change the course of the virus or the treatment. What testing does for most is provide piece of mind. For the rest, it puts them in the fast lane if symptoms get worse.
  5. What does this mean for you? If you have a fever combined with a dry cough and/or shortness of breath, PRESUME YOU HAVE IT and behave accordingly. Self-isolate for at least 14 days. Contact your medical professionals to inform them and follow their guidance. Give them all the relevant information and accept their advice on testing.

Ok, what if you’ve been exposed but have no symptoms, like me. Again, PRESUME YOU HAVE IT! Data from Iceland indicates that MORE THAN HALF of those with the virus will SHOW NO SYMPTOMS. Self-isolate for at least 14 days. Contact your medical professionals. But DO NOT expect to be tested unless you are very high risk.

  1. DO NOT go to the ER if you don’t have an EMERGENCY
  2. DO go to the ER if you have difficulty breathing
  3. If you are infected, or suspect you may be, have someone CALL AHEAD to let them know you’re on your way so the ER can prepare to get you into a quarantined area.

Everyone needs to stay properly informed. Hopefully this helps. But as you search for yourself, make sure the information is reliable.

  1. DO NOT listen to Donald Trump. This isn’t a political statement. He LITERALLY doesn’t know what he’s talking about and needs to be constantly corrected.
  2. DO seek out information from the CDC and WHO. In California, the Governor’s office is a good resource as well. Watch Italy’s “curve” for an idea of where we’re headed.

It’s more important than ever.

  1. Stay home as much as possible.
  2. If you must go out, stay at least six feet away from others.
  3. Be kind to others, especially those risking their health to provide you with vital services.
  4. Watch out for, and check in with, people who are isolated in the best of times. You may be their lifeline.

(Originally published on Facebook 3/22)

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Wynn Hausser

Professional Communicator, Change Agent & Nonprofit Specialist. “COVID CHRONICLES” documents life under pandemic. Also write on sports, politics and life.