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It's hard to find a COVID-19 test right now in Northeast Ohio if you're asymptomatic

Posted at 6:13 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 06:13:54-05

AKRON, Ohio — In Gov. Mike DeWine’s Monday briefing, he revealed there have been 9,273 new reported COVID-19 cases and 63 new deaths in 24 hours.

The high likelihood of community spread is also creating more urgency for COVID-19 testing.

“We are getting to the point where community spread is such where people are seeking peace of mind. They want to know if they’re sick,” said Kevin Brennan with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

There’s an uptick in demand for testing.

“Several months ago we were blowing the horn that we wish we had more testing. Now we have more testing, but, unfortunately, we have quite an uptick in cases as well,” said Brennan.

That surge in demand creates a shortage in the supply.

“People call us daily asking about testing,” said Donna Skoda, health commissioner for Summit County Public Health. “We don’t have enough testing to go around.”

Skoda said the majority of hospital systems throughout Northeast Ohio are requiring doctor referrals for tests and those doctors are typically only doing referrals if the patient is symptomatic.

“Most individuals want a test. It is difficult to get a test if you’re asymptomatic,” said Skoda.

But what if you know you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and you’re asymptomatic? Skoda said you still have to quarantine for at least 10 days because even if you did get a test and received a negative result, your symptoms could arrive after the test.

“COVID is a time-limited disease and, so, once you start having symptoms, if you ever get symptoms, you are most contagious one or two day before those symptoms started,” she said.

After you take the first step of quarantining, you should call your primary care doctor. They may be able to get you a test, though again, most hospitals are only testing symptomatic patients. If you can’t get a test that way, you’ll have to go the community testing route like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid or pop-up sites at churches or schools. But Brennan said it may be tough to get in.

“Even though we can go to our health care provider, we can go to local pharmacies, there are places that you can get tested, there are a number of community testing sites. Unfortunately, the demand is so great because of the amount of people who are becoming ill,” he said.

There are also websites and resources like Solv that can help people find COVID-19 testing near them.

Brennan said the Cuyahoga County Board’s website has a resource page that will post pop-up sites and community partnerships for testing.

The Summit County Board of Health has a similar page.

If you live in another county, the local health department should know where you can get a test.

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, like trouble breathing, you’re urged to go to the emergency room.

RELATED: There will be a big spike in COVID-19 cases Tuesday as ODH clears backlog of positive antigen tests

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