When DawnName changed to protect patient privacy., a health care provider from Maine, felt the familiar tickle in her throat along with congestion, she thought it was seasonal allergies. When her condition became worse, she decided to get tested for COVID-19, which shares similar symptoms. Waiting for the result was not only stressful, but also delayed her ability to find out what she had and how to treat it.
“The waiting is so anxiety-provoking,” says Dawn. “Do I have it? Do I not have it? Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can figure out what to do next.” As it turned out, Dawn discovered she did have COVID-19.
COVID-19, influenza, strep throat, seasonal allergies and even wildfire smoke cause similar symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose, headache or cough — but have very different treatments and isolation requirements. A person with COVID-19, for example, must isolate for 10 days, while patients with strep throat are not considered infectious after 24 hours on antibiotics.
Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic, says a quick and accurate diagnosis is critical for improving health outcomes, avoiding unnecessary isolations and getting people back to work and school.
That’s why as cases skyrocket, CVS Health is expanding its nationwide COVID-19 testing services to offer rapid-result tests at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year. Results can be provided within 30 minutes or less. Since March, CVS Health has administered eight million COVID-19 tests at 4,000 drive-thru locations and has expanded testing to include children ages 10 and up.