COVID-19 Tests in SA: Symptoms & Precautions

Although lockdown regulations are slowly easing, the threat of COVID-19 remains very real. If you are experiencing an unusual shortness of breath or persistent chest pains, you should seek the advice of your medical practitioner immediately as to where to go for COVID-19 tests. This article explains when to get tested and what to do in light of the results.

Who Should Be Tested?

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has communicated news, updates, and frequently asked questions around the coronavirus (COVID-19). According to its website, you should be on the look out for certain symptoms before rushing to get tested for coronavirus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 resemble many of those of cold and flu, including:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever

The NICD recommends only getting tested if you display the above symptoms as well as:

  • Having been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient
  • Work in or recently visited a healthcare facility treating people with COVID-19
  • Have a severe case of pneumonia with an unknown cause

If you suspect you may have contracted COVID-19, you can call the NICD helpline (0800 029 999). This helpline will advise on possible testing facilities. However, you should first seek the opinion of your general practitioner or another health professional in order to qualify for testing.

When You Get The Results Of A COVID-19 Test…

Should your COVID-19 test come back negative, you probably were not infected at the time of taking the test. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get sick in future. Be sure to take appropriate measures to prevent infection.

In the event that you test positive for COVID-19 by a viral test, consider taking the following measures to prevent spreading the infection:

  • Stay home, except to get medical care.
  • Keep away from other people. If you live with other people keep to a specific room as much as possible.
  • Monitor your symptoms, e.g. fever, cough, etc.
  • Follow instructions from your healthcare provider. When you do go to your doctor, be sure to call ahead before seeing your doctor.
  • Wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth if or when you must interact with other people and even pets.

Precautions To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap (for 20 seconds minimum) or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people, who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, e.g. your phone, laptop, keys and remotes, etc.

When To Seek Emergency Medical Attention

While monitoring your symptoms, be on the lookout for the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in your chest
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • New confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are experiencing any of these extreme symptoms, call ahead and head to the nearest hospital that is equipped to treat COVID-19 patients. Worried about the cost of a hospital stay? Don’t be; that’s where health insurance comes in handy.

Should you have to stay in hospital for longer than two days, the cost of that stay is covered by health insurance. Many health insurers are now even promoting policies designed to accommodate the specific needs of people infected with COVID-19. Get a health insurance quote today and take the stress out of a potential hospital visit.

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