MONROE — Monroe Clinic and Green County Public Health are following new guidelines on where to seek COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to align with other public health departments and health care organizations in the area.
The July 9 announcement of the new guidelines comes as public demand for COVID-19 diagnostic testing is increasing significantly.
Where you seek testing depends on whether you have symptoms or not.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to contact their health care providers. Local health systems, including Monroe Clinic, are well-prepared to handle testing for COVID-19, turn around results quickly and provide any necessary treatment.
Symptoms to look for include fever of 100 degrees or higher, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or chest tightness, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, severe fatigue and muscle pain.
Anyone age 5 and older who is not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but would like to get tested should go to the nearest community testing site at Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Free testing is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can walk, bike or drive up to get tested, and no ID or appointment is necessary.
Reasons for wanting to get tested when not experiencing symptoms include:
● Exposure to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19
● Attending an event with individuals who tested positive for COVID-19
● Protecting friends or relatives who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19
● Upcoming travel, work or other events that may require getting tested
Regardless of where individuals are tested, the recommendation is to limit contact with others while test results are pending.
Patients who are not experiencing symptoms and attempt to schedule a test through their health care provider are likely to be referred to the public testing site. Likewise, those tested at public sites who display symptoms of COVID-19 may be encouraged to contact their health care provider.
Public health officials say testing alone is not enough and practicing smart preventive behavior remains the most important step we can take to reduce risk and slow spread in our community, including:
● Stay six feet away from people who do not live in your household
● Wear face coverings, especially if you will be indoors with others
● Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
● Stay home if possible, especially if you have any symptoms