LUBBOCK, Texas — Getting tested for the coronavirus is as simple as making an appointment, getting swabbed, and waiting for the test results.
According to two local doctors, tests being used to screen for the coronavirus are around 86 percent accurate, and together both University Medical Center and Covenant Health are testing around 700 people a day.
But even with the list of symptoms including everything from shortness of breath to diarrhea, it can be difficult to tell whether or not someone has the virus.
“With this list of symptoms there isn’t one discerning factor to say, ‘Yes, you have COVID or no you don’t,’” said Dr. Kerry Hendershot the Covenant Medical Group Physicians.
Dr. Craig Barker, the UMC Corporate Medical Director said that even with all the symptoms it’s important not to get tested too early.
“5 to 7 days is about the time where we would expect for you to be testing positive. If you come in and test at 2 days we are going to get a negative test,” he said. “Then you may think you are fine, but that virus wouldn’t even have been in you enough that we would be able to test it and find it.”
If you think you’ve been exposed, or are having symptoms doctors encourage you to get tested.
“If they have symptoms we will for sure test them. If they have an exposure and they feel like it really has been 5 to 7 days we’ll test them. So if someone has an exposure and they are concerned we are going to go ahead and test them,” Barker said.
The wait to get tested is around 30 minute with some results returning in just 15 minutes, but Barker says testing will only get faster.
“We are getting a little more efficient than we were before. As the staff and the flow gets better, we have go through patients faster than we had before. We think that’s going to continue,” Barker said.
Looking toward flu season, Dr. Hendershot is worried about how hospitals will respond.
“This respiratory season is going to be murder on us because you will have to assume COVID first for everything. Regardless of flu or anything else it’s going to be tough,” Hendershot said.
But Barker believes that being tested for COVID-19 will be common practice by the flu season.
“This is going to be something like you go to the doctor for what you think may be a flu-like illness and you may get tested for a flu and COVID at the same time. This is going to morph into one of the things that you could have,” Barker said.
There are 14 testing sites around Lubbock, and most require you to call ahead and schedule an appointment, and most will take insurance to cover the cost of the test.