Doctors: Not everyone with symptoms needs a COVID test

A nurse holds swabs and a test tube kit to test people for COVID-19, the disease that is caused...
A nurse holds swabs and a test tube kit to test people for COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the new coronavirus, at a drive through station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 9:55 PM CDT
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At a joint press conference Thursday, Baylor Scott and White Temple, Advent Health and Seton Medical Center said they have all the tests they need, but that doesn't mean they're testing everyone with the virus.

Between the three hospitals, 3,199 tests were performed in the county, as of Wednesday.

Of those, 2,520 tests were done at Baylor Scott and White, 575 were done at Advent and the rest were performed at Seton.

But some people that doctors believe have the virus aren't being tested.

Dr. Greenberg, Baylor Scott & White-Central Texas Division’s chief medical officer of emergency services, said that's normal.

"Clinically, everyone does not need a test. We call it the duck theory, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck. If it looks like you have COVID, you have COVID. We actually don't need a test to confirm that," Greenberg said.

He says this is usually the case for patients with mild cases.

"If somebody is ill, but they don't need to be in the hospital, the recommendation no matter what is going to be a stay at home," Greenberg explained.

He says they aren't keeping track of how many patients are being diagnosed this way, which the Bell County Health District director says, is ok.

"It's not everybody. We know it's not everybody, you know it's not everybody. We know there are people with clinical symptomology and we ask that they follow their doctors directions, but we do have a decent representation of illness in the community," Dr. Amanda Chadwell said.

She says they track flu cases the same way.

"When we think about a scientific study, what is one of the first things they tell you? 'We sampled this many people' right? That gives you an idea kind of what is represented in the population," she said.

Some residents, however, fear the numbers that are being reported are misleading.

Shurita Wollard says her daughter was told she has COVID-19, but wasn't tested.

The next day, her county reported no new cases.

"Everybody's posting online 'way to go guys, no new cases' and I said 'wait a second,'" Wollard said.

She says if area hospitals report all diagnoses, it could help stop the spread.

"If everybody knew the real numbers maybe people would take it more seriously and stop taking so many risks," Wollard said.