RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina is updating and expanding guidelines on who should be tested for COVID-19. The move comes more than two months after Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus.
In March, Keith Fogleman was one of the first COVID-19 patients in Wake County.
“The main thing with this sickness for me was fatigue. I was sleeping a lot, maybe even 18 hours a day,” Fogleman said.
That same month, Duke University Law Student Zack Kaplan also tested positive for COVID-19.
He quarantined for two weeks with mild symptoms.
“One of the things that’s so dangerous about this virus is you can have it and not know it,” Kaplan said. “That isn’t an issue for that person necessarily until they’re going out in public not knowing or thinking they have it. And now, maybe somebody’s grandmother or grandfather could get it because you went to Target and were getting groceries and they were also there.”
State health leaders are expanding testing guidelines.
“Our goal is simple: We want to make sure everyone who needs a test gets a test,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
According to NCDHHS, the new guidance recommends clinicians ensure the following populations have access to testing, regardless of symptoms:
- Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
- Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
- Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
- Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
- Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
- Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
- Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
“If that’s a possibility, the more, the merrier,” Kaplan said. “I think that, really, in order for things to get back to any sense of normal, we will need to see widespread testing.”
More testing sites are being made available throughout the state. There are dozens in Wake County and its surrounding counties.
Fogleman said he’d also like to see a push for more antibody testing since people, like his wife, didn’t know they already had the virus until they tested for antibodies.
“I think that would give people more peace of mind,” Fogleman said. “I think it was relief that we have the antibodies that we feel like we can not spread it or get it again.”
Both Fogleman and Kaplan are donating plasma to help other patients.
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