Testing For COVID-19

Testing and treating COVID-19 is taking up a majority of many hospital’s time. Testing is important in order for health officials to track the spread of the virus, in addition to bringing aid to those affected.

Testing is important and if any symptoms are present then that individual should get tested with the support of their health provider through testing locations throughout the state.

To encourage this, we have a few examples of what the testing experience has been like for residents in Utah and surrounding states.

Across the country hospitals and clinics that are conducting COVID-19 testing and are having patients go through various screenings so patients who are more likely to have the virus receive the test.

Patients who go through the screening process have an exam similar to a regular checkup, however, the COVID-19 test is administered. This test is done by inserting a long swab into the nasal cavity as far as it will go.

Jared Mitchell received the test in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah Health Center. This is a drive up testing center where patients call ahead to explain their symptoms as well as provide medical information.

Mitchell was pulled into the tent where he discussed his symptoms and what information he may need if he tested positive. The testing began with the swab entering and twisting around inside his nose for twenty seconds.

“It made me cough and gag and my nose hurt for the rest of the day,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19. He had to wait for 36 hours before receiving his results. He continued to be sick for nearly two weeks, but has now been cleared by his doctor to return work.

Hali Poole, a medical receptionist at Optum in Colorado Springs, also received the test after having conducted pre-screening for patients who came to receive tests or for appointments when they were available.

Poole’s description of the test was similar, however she was a bit more graphic in how it made her feel.

“I could feel it under my eye,” Poole said.

She went on to describe being so uncomfortable that she struggled to respond to the doctors and even felt like she was losing feeling.

“Afterwards they told me, ‘yeah.. This is how [patients] usually respond’,” explain Poole.

Poole tested negative for COVID-19 after waiting a week for her results. That said, she had been sick for nearly three weeks and is still waiting to be cleared to return to work.

While Mitchell and Poole did not have severe symptoms, the testing experience was not pleasant for either. Some patients have been hospitalized, or have needed to use ventilators and x-rays during testing and treatment.

Susan Schilling, an x-ray technician at Jordan Valley Hospital, and her coworkers have been working to help with some of the more severe cases of the virus.

While the test can take up to a week to see results, chest x-rays can sometimes reliably predict if a patient will test positive due to the appearance of their lungs. In cases like this, the virus can be seen as a murky, white clouds filling both of the lungs.

Schilling x-rayed the first confirmed case for her hospital and went on to see 30 to 40 patients that weekend. She said that it has been coming in waves.

For more information on COVID-19 visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.

If you believe that you may have COVID-19 consult your healthcare provider and continue practicing social distancing.


Story by: Alex Schilling
Photos Courtesy of: Unsplash.com