COVID-19 FAQs

March 26, 2020

How do I get tested for COVID-19?
At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. Your provider will work with follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to determine if testing is recommended based on your symptoms and recent travel history.

What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?
Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:

1.    A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
2.    A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
3.    A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.

Can I pick up or buy a test kit for COVID-19?
No. At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order and are not commercially available to the public.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.
If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care or testing

I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?

I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.
If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

Should I get tested? Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.

Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.

Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms, and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and state health department guidelines.

Emergent symptoms I am having difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms. 

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and state health department guidelines. 

Do hand-sewn face masks provide protection?

Per the CDC, homemade masks are not considered as approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These masks’ capability to protect against COVID-19 is unknown. According to the CDC, the N-95 Masks (also known as the N-95 Respirator Masks) filter out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles. To see the full comparison of an N-95 Respirator Mask visit:

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf