What are the downsides to being tested for Covid 19

Posted by Jackie, Alumna Mentor @travelgirl, May 12, 2020

If a coworker doesn’t test positive for covid 19 but his wife who is a nurse, has tested positive covid 19. But she doesn’t show signs of any symptoms. Should you also get tested?
The last day you worked with person was over a week ago. You don’t show any symptoms. Why would you go get tested? No one seems to know a clear answer? A doctor and nurse cannot advise either way. The answers are 3 times removed. No one gives a clear answer? How are other peopling handing this. Drs cannot write an order if you have no symptoms. This is a very complicated disease that’s for certain.
Should you go get tested for no reason?

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People who are asymptomatic or without symptoms are potential carriers too. If in doubt take the test. I was exposed to someone who tested positive. Without exhibiting any symptoms, I called my MD and insisted that I need to be tested and got tested. Came out positive.


@travelgirl If you are asymptomatic, and you were not exposed to the person who was positive, you would not meet testing criteria in our state. You must exhibit at least one symptom or be a health care provider or first responder who has been exposed to be tested. They are also ramping up to test all people in congregate living who have been exposed, so they can isolate those who are positive. In some areas the same is being considered in meat packing plants due to HIGH rates of infection (up to 50% of workers in some places.)
Current events in the White House demonstrate that testing is not foolproof – being negative at a point in time is no guarantee that one is not infected, just that there is not enough virus present to display a positive result at the time of the swab.
There is not enough testing capacity in this country to test everyone, just in case they might have been exposed, so the current recommendation is no direct exposure and no symptoms = no test.
Once sufficient proven reliable antibody tests become available, I expect this will change and widespread testing will be used to determine how much of the population has already been infected with the virus – this will help with knowing actual hospitalization, complication and death rates, which will determine how the next outbreaks are handled.



@alfrethllh– Good morning and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. This is such an excellent question. I think that the first step would be to see what your state's rules are for testing. They will be different for both kinds of tests. States vary according to what your governor has set forth. If you think that you might have been exposed I would follow @alfrethlin's suggestion. I am hearing that tests aren't reliable with a lot of false negatives. I think that until there are good standards made by the administration things won't change in tests. People who choose to self isolate usually do so for 14 days. This seems to be the standard for showing symptoms. You've been isolated for a week. Can you wait for one more? What test are you interested in?
Here are some hopeful answers:
Here is Mayo's self-evaluation test: https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19-self-assessment-tool

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