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Q: Who should get tested for COVID-19? Are tests still being restricted? Recommendations keep changing and it is hard to keep up.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your health care provider about getting tested. The most common symptoms are fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, body aches, loss of taste or smell, congestion, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. You don’t have to be experiencing all these symptoms in order to get tested. Many people with COVID-19 may only have one or two symptoms, and some don’t have any symptoms.

Additionally, if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, you should also talk to your health care provider about getting tested.

Early in the pandemic, there was a shortage of tests and health officials limited testing, but now anyone with symptoms or who has had a potential exposure can and should be tested. It’s no longer restricted to certain people, like those who are at high risk.

If you have symptoms or have had a high risk contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, it is essential to get tested so that you can know for sure whether you’re sick with COVID-19 and take the proper next steps. We know that testing works to slow the spread of this disease because it means that contact tracers can do their job and quickly identify and quarantine anyone close to you who may have been exposed, so it lessens the risk of further infections.

If you are still not sure whether you should get tested, call your doctor. You can also take the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Coronavirus Self Checker on our website at MauiHealth.org/covid19.

Michael J. Shea , MD

Critical care medicine

Maui Memorial Medical Center
221 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, HI 96793