Behind the screen
Are screening and testing the same when it comes to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Juliette Allen Published: 3/23/2020
It can be a scary word when connected to an illness, like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But with COVID-19, the word “positive” has different implications when it comes to screening versus testing.
“'Screening' refers to the initial questioning process to determine your risk of having COVID-19,” said Michelle Maynard, system infection prevention and control manager for Baptist Health. “This is our first step in determining who may have COVID-19 so we can guide them through what to do next, which may include testing. Screening also helps us determine what infection prevention measures need to be put into place.”
Hospitals across the United States, including Baptist Health, are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health guidelines for screening patients to see whether they are at-risk for COVID-19. While guidelines are changing as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, currently, in order to be tested for the disease, a patient must first screen positive. To limit exposure, screening is often done over the phone or via telehealth consult. Screening takes place in the Emergency Room if a person’s symptoms are severe.
Screening questions include:
- Does the person have symptoms like fever, cough and/or shortness of breath?
- Has the person traveled to any of the countries listed by the CDC as having widespread or sustained community transmission?
- Has the person come into contact with anyone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19?
If a person screens positive, he or she may be tested for COVID-19. If a patient meets Florida Department of Health (FDOH) criteria to be tested for COVID-19, the sample will sent to an FDOH lab. If a patient does not meet criteria, but the provider considers that COVID-19 testing is indicated, a sample may be collected and sent to a commercial lab for testing.
In an effort to make testing more accessible, Baptist Health, the City of Jacksonville and Telescope Health recently collaborated to establish a Drive-Thru Testing Site for Duval County residents who have completed a Telescope Health virtual visit and been referred to testing by a physician.
At Baptist Health, we want to help keep you and your family informed about COVID-19. We’re coordinating with the health department and following CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our community. For more information, visit baptistjax.com/covid19.