How Do Doctors Decide Who Gets Tested For Coronavirus?

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How Do Doctors Decide Who Gets Tested For Coronavirus?
The key symptoms are fever and respiratory problems, but getting tested for the coronavirus really comes down to exposure to someone who has it.
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The coronavirus has officially been declared a global pandemic. So how do doctors decide who gets tested for COVID-19?

The key symptoms are fever and respiratory problems, like coughing or difficulty breathing. But those symptoms are pretty common, so getting tested for the coronavirus really comes down to exposure to someone who has it. 

"We don't have the capabilities to screen every single patient or every single person that wants a COVID-19 test. So the tests are limited to only those people that meet certain criteria for us to be able to screen," said Mike Hastings, president of the Emergency Nurses Association.

CDC guidelines say doctors should consider testing someone if the patient has been in close contact with another person who's tested positive or if they've visited a region with an outbreak.

But the hospitals Newsy talked to said the CDC guidelines are vague. So the qualifications for getting tested vary depending on the hospital or emergency room a patient goes to.

As of March 10, over 11,000 coronavirus tests have been completed in the U.S. But that doesn't mean over 11,000 people have been tested. It takes multiple samples and multiple tests to confirm whether a person has the coronavirus, and it can take days to get the results. 

If you're feeling sick, the CDC says the first step you should take is to call your local doctor's office. 

Contains footage from CNN