Who can and can’t get tested for COVID-19

WWNY Who can and can’t get tested for COVID-19

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Weeks into the crisis, the question remains: who can get tested for COVID-19? The state has expanded its guidance, but not anyone can just go get one.

When it comes to getting tested for COVID-19, the state health department has a specific list of people who can get tested.

"The capacity to test has increased but there still isn't enough capacity to test everyone so that's why things are being prioritized by the state," said Jefferson County Public Health Planner Steve Jennings.

The state's guidance recently expanded. It prioritizes symptomatic people, then those who have had close contact with someone who's positive, followed by health care workers, first responders, and then a list of essential employees who directly interact with the public.

While those people can be tested, Jennings says it's slowly opening up because there's still an issue of having enough supplies.

"The issue isn't capacity to do it here. We certainly have enough providers who do testing, it's having the supplies to do it," he said. "But as that gets better, we'll certainly expanding to folks on the list."

Hospitals like Samaritan Medical Center and River Hospital are mostly testing symptomatic people as well as patients going into nursing homes and pre-operative patients. Nursing home workers are also being tested.

Jennings says there may be urgent care centers that are able to test more people on the state's list.

Lewis County was able to expand this week, testing healthcare workers. Starting next week police officers, corrections officers, firefighters and EMS providers will be tested.

"With more supplies, we work our way down through the list of individuals to be tested," said Lewis County Public Health Director Ashley Waite.

Jennings says as testing expands, there will be more positive cases - likely people who are asymptomatic.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.