Don’t wait to get tested


Don’t wait to get tested

A recent analysis of San Diego County data revealed that San Diegans are waiting an average of 3.5 days after symptoms develop before they get a COVID-19 test.

The delay could result in further COVID-19 exposures, especially if people do not isolate themselves from others.

“People should get tested immediately after they start feeling sick,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “They should also isolate themselves to avoid exposing those around them.”

Because there is substantial spread of COVID-19 in the community, people who start feeling sick should assume it’s because of the novel coronavirus, get tested right away and isolate themselves from other people, including their families.

People with COVID-19 can have no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe illness. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

“People experiencing symptoms should be in isolation while they wait for their test results and, if they are positive, they should continue to be away from others,” Wooten said. “If you have severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately.”

People who test positive should remain in isolation until 10 days after onset of symptoms and no fever for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement of other symptoms.

Anyone who is sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available). Close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 should quarantine themselves for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

For people who are not able to isolate or quarantine themselves at home, the County has public health rooms for the public.

The County operates about 40 COVID-19 testing sites and most do not require an appointment. To find a no-appointment site near you, or to make an appointment, visit or call 2-1-1. You can view the testing sites by day here.

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