Tuesday 27 October, 2020

How to get tested for COVID-19

In Trinidad and Tobago, there are at least two ways which involve a similar process to get tested for the novel coronavirus; these are through a private general practitioner and through visiting a public health facility.

As the virus continues to spread, it is important to know that if you’ve arrived from any of the largely affected countries, you need to look out for symptoms of the virus. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath/ trouble breathing and sore throat. If you experience any number of these symptoms you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends calling your healthcare provider ahead of your visit and informing them that you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

At the doctor’s office or hospital/health centre, you are encouraged to disclose all the information regarding your trip and each of your symptoms and their severity. If your doctor determines that your situation warrants a coronavirus test, they will administer a swab at the back of your throat, on your inner cheeks and mouth.

Your doctor will then have your sample taken to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Port of Spain, where doctors will first test for coronavirus. If that test is negative, your sample is destroyed and you will be informed. If it tests positive, doctors will then do further testing to determine whether you are suffering from this particular strain of coronavirus.

If this second test reads positive, measures to have you quarantined and treated will be implemented.

Contact testing will also be done to determine whether anyone you’ve come into contact with has contracted the virus.

As of 3pm on Wednesday March 11, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

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