Whence can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?

The test is not yet available to many. Here's who qualified - and why.

You feel feverish and tired. You have a cough. What now?

In a perfect world, they would test themselves on COVID-19. It would be quick, easy, free, and available.

We are not in this world - at least not yet. Of course, things are improving. But despite guarantees from Washington D.C., testing demand still exceeds our stock in the Gulf.

So here's what you do. Call your doctor first. He'll probably tell you this:

If you have mild cold symptoms, stay home, and isolate yourself. They are not a priority for rare tests.

If you have moderate to severe symptoms or get worse, you can get tested - especially if you are over 65, have environmental health conditions, have been in contact with a known cause, or have recently traveled outside the United States. Coordinate your tests at your local polyclinic, emergency room, or driving location.

"The main message is: if you are sick with the flu and can support yourself at home, stay at home. Stay fit - said Dr. Sara Cody, health manager for Santa Clara County, which has 196 cases and is the hardest hit Bay Area county.

"There is no possibility of testing to confirm whether you have COVID-19 or not," she said.

Over the next few weeks, as tests become more widely available, patients with mild symptoms will be offered more accessible tests, said Dr. Walter Mills, president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, representing nearly 11,000 people. Doctors in the state.

Examining all patients will give us a better picture of the actual extent of the disease, he said. It would help us plan.

Here's why it's not happening yet - and some information on other complications of COVID-19 testing.

Q: Why are there no other tests?

By Thursday night, only 23,200 California had been tested in 21 state laboratories - roughly 0.06 percent of 40 million people, Governor Gavin Newsom's office said. Of the 11 487 results received to date, 1,006 were positive.

Like the rest of the United States, California was hampered by a lack of test kits and necessary chemicals, which made it confusing to prioritize who was eligible for testing.

Now that more public, private, commercial, and academic labs are being tested, that will change "in the coming weeks," said Bay Area-based Dr. David Witt of Kaiser. Five counties in the Bay Area - Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Alameda, and San Francisco - have their public health laboratories with COVID-19 testing capabilities, but capacity has so far been limited.


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