One of the scariest things about the COVID-19 virus is that you can show no symptoms but still be infected (and contagious). Naturally, we all want to know whether we're carrying the new coronavirus, but if you're showing signs of COVID-19, how can you be tested to know for sure? Websites are popping up to help with that, screening for symptoms, and directing you to a testing site if needed.
Due to the limited number of testing kits currently in circulation, you likely will be turned away from testing if you don't show symptoms and aren't deemed "at-risk" of exposure for the virus. Still, these sites have surveys to help determine whether one or both of those criteria are true, so you don't have to make that decision on your own. If a site is not available to you yet, you can always video chat with a doctor instead.
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Donald Trump threw us for a loop during his March 13 coronavirus briefing when he claimed that Google, with 1,700 of its engineers, was developing a website for testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. As it turns out, Google wasn't working on the site at all. Instead, another Alphabet property, Verily, was taking the reins, and it certainly didn't match up to the President's descriptions.
Verily might not have 1,700 engineers on its staff, and it might not be ready to implement a nationwide survey, but it is working on a COVID-19 Initial Survey. In fact, the site is ready right now, albeit for just two California counties.
- Site link: Verily's Project Baseline
Just know that the test itself is rather strict; to qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Be 18 or older.
- Be a US resident.
- Be able to speak and read English.
- Be located in one of the counties Verily has testing available.
- Sign a COVID-19 Public Health authorization form.
Oscar might be a health insurance company, but you don't need to have its insurance to take advantage of its COVID-19 resources. In fact, you don't need any insurance. Oscar's free, online COVID-19 survey asks you a series of questions to determine whether you show symptoms of coronavirus while assessing your risk factor for the disease. If the review believes you might be affected by the virus, it can recommend testing locations for you to visit in your area.
While the site does ask if you have an Oscar account, you don't need one to continue. Just tap "I don't have an account," and you'll be able to take the survey right away. Once you answer all the questions, Oscar will present you with a personalized risk assessment. The results will change depending on your answers, including recommendations for personal care as well as whether or not to contact a doctor.
- Site link: Oscar
However, the survey will never suggest you have the COVID-19 virus; the worst prognosis will say you exhibit signs of a respiratory infection that may or may not be caused by the new coronavirus.
If the results suggest you could be at risk for COVID-19, Oscar will provide a link to find a testing facility near you.
We will continue to update this article with new websites as they come out, in addition to any changes existing sites make to their surveys and processes.
Apple has certainly not stood idly by during this pandemic. The company has both teamed up with Google to develop contact tracing technology to slow the spread of the virus, and created a symptom-checker app that can provide resources relevant to your situation. Now, Apple is adding coronavirus testing sites to Apple Maps, to make it easier to find a testing facility near you.
Here's how it works. Existing testing sites need to fill out Apple's application form to confirm they are, indeed, a verified testing facility. Once Apple reviews and confirms the application, they will add the site to Apple Maps. Verified testing locations should appear in the app as a "COVID-19 Testing Site."
It doesn't seem like this feature is currently live, and Apple is not offering a timeline for when it will be. That said, it's good to see the initiative, and we're sure Apple is working on adding any and all approved sites as quickly as possible.
Love them or hate them, Facebook has taken steps to address the COVID-19 outbreak for the better. The social media titan released an optional symptom survey for users to check their symptoms, and see how at-risk they are for the disease. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, commented on the program in the Washington Post:
We recently started showing the Facebook community in the United States an opt-in symptom survey run by health researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The survey asked people if they have symptoms such as fevers, coughing, shortness of breath or loss of smell that are associated with covid-19. Since experiencing symptoms is a precursor to becoming more seriously ill, this survey can help forecast how many cases hospitals will see in the days ahead and provide an early indicator of where the outbreak is growing and where the curve is being successfully flattened. The survey responses are sent to the researchers and aren't accessible to Facebook.
So far, it seems the survey has been a success. According to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Delphi Research Center, one million responses are coming in a week, which helped the research center publish a report of their initial findings, which will be used to display real-time indicators of COVID-19 throughout the United States.
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