Testing can keep COVID at bay

Testing can keep COVID at bay

COVID-19 testing helps protect individuals and their family, friends, and community. It’s also more available than ever before, according to local and state health officials.

The officials note that testing plays an important role in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. Only people with symptoms should seek testing. If you’ve been exposed, stay away from others, especially those who may be at higher risk.

If you’re sick with mild symptoms, stay home. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include sore throat, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, or a new loss of taste or smell.  Keep track of how you’re feeling and monitor all your symptoms.  Everyone’s health situation is different. It’s best to contact your healthcare provider to decide if you should seek testing.

Most health insurance plans cover testing services for COVID-19. The state insurance commissioner ordered all health plans his office regulates to waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for people requiring testing for COVID-19.

If you test positive

If you get sick, you might not need to go to the hospital. But you need to know your symptoms and pay attention to your body. Many COVID-19 cases are mild enough you can recover at home, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department officials. They suggest making an appointment with your healthcare provider, visiting a free testing site (tpchd.org or 253-649-1500 for information), or getting a free test kit to use at home. Kits can be picked up at branches of Pierce County Library System and Tacoma Public Library, and at Puyallup Public Library.

Kits can also be ordered from federal and state health authorities:

  • S. Health and Human Services notes every home is eligible for four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. They can be ordered at covidtests.govor 1-800-232-0233. Orders will usually ship through the Postal Service in 7 to 12 days.
  • The state Department of Health can provide each Washington household with testing kits twice a month. Each kit has four or five individual tests and can be ordered at orgor 1-800-525-0127. The kits should be delivered within two weeks after an order; availability depends on stock.

    COVID-19 home test kits like this are available through state and local public health agencies. (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)