Private doctors are starting to administer Covid-19 tests throughout Orange County, offering certificates saying you are negative and may go back to work.
Orange County Deputy Agency Director, Public Health Services David M. Souleles addressed the elusive paperwork and private practice testing groups in Orange County.
No Certificates Exist for Clearance to Work
While two testing sites have been open to the public, there are private practices that are offering Covid-19 testing to patients.
Orange County Deputy Agency Director, Public Health Services David M. Souleles, said in a press conference yesterday to be weary of these private testing sites and there is no official certificate to be declared free to go back to work.
“I would not put stock in a piece of paper coming from anybody rather than a confirmed lab report from a PCR test that says you are infected or not,” David Souleles said in a press conference.
The subject of private testing came up in a question and answer round and was a heavily questioned topic. David Souleles kept walking off stage as a reporter repeated her questions.
“In terms of clearing individuals to go to work, assuming they are involved in essential work, the messaging we want to get across to everyone in Orange County is if you are ill stay home,” Mr. Souleles said.
Private Testing in OC
Orange County saw its first private doctor administering Covid-19 tests in late March.
On April 4 a new testing site was established in Westminster and Malibu, in collaboration with actor Sean Penn’s nonprofit Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE)
The OC Register reported “Actor Sean Penn’s nonprofit, Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), and Matthew Abinante, a doctor of osteopathic medicine with Elevated Health in Huntington Beach, are offering two types of COVID-19 tests in those two locations.”
Number of specimens tested for SARS CoV-2 by CDC labs (N=4,914) and U.S. public health laboratories* (N=218,538)†
Deputy Director David Souleles say’s to contact the Orange County District Attorney if you witness testing being done out of scope with the county.
“Private entities offering tests and the testing becoming available with serology tests as well, the use in diagnostics is not there yet. Check the DA Office website and offer a complaint of any testing you see being done with out regulations,” Mr. Souleles said.
Due to the different types of Covid-19 testing you may not be receiving the correct test or it may not be processed correctly or could produce a false positive if not done through and official lab.
LabCorp has been named the official lab in the United States for test production and processing.
PCR Test Vs. Serology Test
Covid-19 currently has two types of testing. A PCR test and serology test.
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will diagnose active cases of covid-19 through the detection of bacteria in your cerebrospinal fluids. The test uses a swab inserted nasally to scrape fluid from the cavity.
PCR tests are the only tests considered to be of importance and accuracy when it comes to testing for Covid-19.
“The only test that is valuable to us to determine is the PCR test. We are not using serology tests in country at this time,” Mr. Souleles said.
Serology tests check for anti-bodies in the blood and can identify if a patient was in contact with Covid-19 but not if you are an active carrier. These tests are helpful for healthcare workers and researchers to identify community spread.
Serology tests require a prick of the finger to draw blood and can produce results in about 10 minutes. These tests are cheap and easy to acquire privately.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) just approved the use of serology testing for Covid-19 after stating that it is beneficial.
Serology tests have been used in other parts of the world since February.
Guidelines to go to Work
David Souleles referred to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on how to determine if you are able to return to work in an essential field.
“The way to determine if someone is OK to go back to work under CDC guidance, whether they have been tested or not, is to wait seven days since symptoms began and three days from symptom resolution,” Mr. Souleles said.
Essential workers can visit the CDC website for more guidelines on the workplace. Additional public Covid-19 testing centers have not been disclosed since time of publication.