JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So what should you do if you start feeling under the weather and perhaps you just returned from one of the affected areas where the coronavirus is present?
News4Jax went out on Tuesday and asked people: What would you do if you start experiencing a fever, lower respiratory illness and a cough or shortness of breath?
Everyone News4Jax spoke to said they would go to their doctor or the hospital immediately. But that is the wrong answer because the hospital or doctor’s office cannot conduct a test for COVID-19.
There are only three places in Florida that can actually administer the CDC tests for the coronavirus. Thankfully, one of those locations is the State Bureau of Health on Pearl Street in downtown Jacksonville, though health officials said concerned patients should not go directly to the health department or testing site.
The other two locations for testing in Florida are in Miami and Tampa.
A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider and local county health department (CHD) and mention their recent travel or close contact.
If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, they should call ahead to a health care professional and the county health department. The health care professional will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.
News4Jax reached out to state health officials to find out just how many of these test kits health officials have here in Jacksonville but here are the various ways they can test you:
- A health care provider can take a noise or throat swab
- They could inject saline solution in your nose and remove the sample with a gentle suction
- They could use a tracheal aspirate, putting a bronchoscope down your mouth and into your lungs
- They could test thick mucus in your lungs
- Or they could test your blood
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On Tuesday, Gov. Ron Desantis reinforced where Floridians who think they’ve been exposed should go to get tested.
“The public health emergency also advises individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to contact your local county health department prior to traveling to any physician’s office or hospital or take care center. If you look at this virus, the vast, vast majority of people who get it will not require hospitalization,” DeSantis said.
News4Jax is still waiting to hear back from state health officials about the number of coronavirus test kits they have in Jacksonville, and any other suggestions that they may have for the general public.