At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, the health and safety of our clients are our top priorities. For this reason, we ask any individuals concerned that they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 to test negative before they come in for any appointments. For the safety of everyone, we provide COVID 19 testing through Life Hope Labs. Here’s what you need to know.
How Should COVID 19 Testing Take Place?
COVID 19 testing should take place at home. If you suspect that you or a loved one has contracted the novel coronavirus, a test is required. However, since COVID-19’s symptoms are so similar to cold and flu symptoms, you shouldn’t risk becoming infected by visiting a testing center in person. Even if you go to a testing center that tests an individual in his or her car, there is the risk of infection from the person administering the test.
That’s why we are doing our part to flatten the curve in Atlanta by partnering with Life Hope Labs. Life Hope Labs is a medical testing provider that will send a COVID-19 test straight to your door so you can remain quarantined until you find out for sure if you have the novel viral disease.
How Does an At-Home Test for COVID-19 Work?
At-home testing for COVID-19 is simple, painless and accurate. To order a test, contact Life Hope Labs online or by calling 404-891-0121. The test will be mailed to your home with comprehensive, easy-to-follow instructions. Once you have collected your sample as described in the instructions, mail it to Life Hope Labs. You will receive your lab results within 24 hours of the lab receiving your test.
What’s the Importance of Flattening the Curve?
Flattening the curve is absolutely crucial in the management of COVID-19. The mortality rate for this disease is incredibly low, serious ramifications are extremely rare, and the disease has not existed long enough for us to determine how long complications may last. The real danger of this viral disease is its effect on the local hospital systems.
When infections spread through the community like wildfire, a large number of COVID patients will take up standard hospital and ICU beds. Unfortunately, COVID isn’t the only illness that circulates through our community. The flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and motor vehicle accidents can all necessitate a trip to the hospital or emergency room. When hospitals run out of staff, beds, equipment and medicine to treat patients, patients are refused admittance into the hospital and flown to a nearby hospital.
What Is Flattening the Curve?
Flattening the curve refers to slowing the infection rate of an illness. In the case of COVID-19, the national goal is to slow the rate of infection to 1; in other words, one person will only infect one other person rather than dozens. At this infection rate, hospitals and emergency rooms will not become overwhelmed with patients, and medical care can be provided to all who need it.
Will Herd Immunity Work?
When everyone who can be vaccinated against a virus is vaccinated, the virus has fewer potential hosts. Depending on the efficacy of a vaccine, how effectively a virus spreads and how many people in a community get vaccinated, a virus can be wiped out in a community for years. For example, if everyone in a town who could be vaccinated was vaccinated against a virus, the virus could be eradicated from the town until an infected tourist visited.
Do Lockdowns Work?
Lockdowns have the potential to work, though the World Health Organization has recently reversed its stance on lockdowns and questioned their effectiveness. Should a lockdown become necessary, it should be maintained until the following six conditions are met:
- The transmission of the disease is under control
- Health systems can “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
- There is minimal risk in nursing homes and other vulnerable places
- Essential places, like schools and grocery stores, have preventative measures in place
- The risk of the importation of new cases is manageable
- Communities are fully educated on how to adhere to health and safety guidelines
Who Needs to Take a Test?
Anyone who is in close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 needs to take a test. According to the CDC, an individual who is in close contact is someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for at least a quarter of an hour starting from two days before the onset of symptoms, or positive diagnosis in the case of an asymptomatic infected individual.
The World Health Organization (WHO) expands this definition significantly. According to the WHO, an individual who is in close contact may also be someone who had direct physical contact with a confirmed or probable case. The WHO also leaves room in their definition for someone who was in a situation described by local risk assessments.
Do I Have to Test If I Don’t Have Symptoms? Why Is it So Important to Take a Test?
Yes. If you have been in close contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to be tested regardless of symptoms. As the United States was ramping up production of quick, reliable tests, there was a shortage. As a result, the CDC recommended that only the symptomatic received a test. Now, the number of tests and professionals available to analyze the test results has increased drastically.
Research suggests that for every symptomatic individual infected with COVID-19, there are 10 people who shed the virus without ever realizing they are sick. It’s so important to take a test if you’ve been in close contact with a known or suspected positive individual because you may unwittingly pass the virus on to someone else, like your grandfather, father or son. Knowing you are infected, even without symptoms, means that you can isolate yourself within your home and protect your family.
How to Protect Your Family If You Are COVID-Positive
If you are COVID-positive and share a home with other people, there are several things you can do to protect your loved ones. You may have read stories about nurses who rented AirBNBs to protect their loved ones, but you don’t need to go that far.
If you can’t afford to pay for a temporary residence while you’re quarantining, you can wear a mask in the house at all times and eat outside. Although this virus can be transmitted via commonly touched surfaces, it most commonly is spread via aerosols that are absorbed by the eyes, nose and mouth. Luckily, the eyes are not good receptors for the virus, so your family doesn’t need to wear goggles at all times. Here are other steps:
- Have your family members wear masks
- Stay in your room as much as possible
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as plumbing fixtures
- Have others in your home use a different bathroom, if possible
- Do not share eating utensils
- Encourage high-risk individuals to wear medical gloves
- Keep the home well-ventilated by keeping windows open and using fans
What If I Don’t Want to Take a Test?
If you don’t want to take part in COVID 19 testing, but you suspect you have COVID-19, you should quarantine yourself for 10 days. Recent studies suggest that the period during which you can pass on the virus starts anywhere from one to three days before you develop symptoms if you are symptomatic at all.
Individuals with mild-to-moderate cases tend to shed the virus for seven days after the onset of symptoms.
People with severe cases may shed the virus for 10 to 11 days after the onset of symptoms because severe cases most often occur when the viral load that caused the infection was high. If your family depends on you to go to work every day to keep food on the table, taking a COVID test can be a scary prospect, but you owe it to your loved ones and everyone else in your community to be tested.
How Can I Continue to Live My Life While Staying Safe?
One of the easiest ways you can continue to live your life while staying safe is to practice social distancing. Without a mask, aerosols can travel up to 15 feet depending on whether an infected individual coughed, talked loudly or sneezed. When everyone wears masks, fewer aerosols end up circulating throughout the air and it is safe to come within six feet of an individual, particularly if exposure is no longer than 15 minutes.
This means that you can safely get on an airplane to visit family for the holidays if there are at least six feet separating you from other passengers and you don’t take your mask off for more than 15 minutes at a time. We just recommend that if you have at-risk family members, test negative for COVID-19 before visiting. If you visit a state with an increasing rate of cases, we recommend that you quarantine yourself or test negative after coming from such a state.
Wear a Mask
Another way to get back to activities you enjoy safely is to wear a mask. To wear a mask properly, wash your hands before you put it on, before you take it off and after you take it off. Fabric masks you can purchase in convenience stores or make yourself are perfectly adequate if you are not in a high-risk category. Due to a national supply shortage of medical masks, only high-risk individuals should wear medical or surgical masks.
Individuals who should wear medical or surgical masks include those over 60, those with underlying medical conditions, those who feel ill and those who are looking after an unwell family member. Regardless of the type of mask you wear, you should make sure it covers your mouth, nose and chin. Remember, the virus can enter your body through your mouth and nose. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
Learn More About How to Keep You and Your Family Safe Today
If you suspect that you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19, immediate testing is required. On September 18, 2020, the CDC revised its testing recommendations and now recommends that close contacts of confirmed positive individuals should be tested, even if symptoms are not present. If you have any further questions about COVID 19 testing or keeping your loved ones safe, contact us today at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA.