The Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District (CCNCPHD) revised the COVID-19 Testing Process officially on April 21, 2020. There are six steps in the process described below. Health Director Annette Rodriguez explains the process in this video.
Step 1: Phone Bank
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Citizens call the CCNCPHD number at (361) 826-7200. Criteria now includes if an individual has any of the following symptoms:
- Fever (subjective or confirmed with thermometer)
- Cough (dry or wet)
- Allergy like symptoms
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain, body aches
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or altered sense of taste (foods taste differently)
- Loss of smell or altered sense of smell (things smell differently)
- Intermittent symptoms (feeling better and then worse intermittently)
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Step 2: Review by PUI Manager
If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19, the individual is now called a Person Under Investigation (PUI). Information is reviewed by the Person Under Investigation (PUI) Manager.
Step 3: Department Operations Center
Information is sent to the Department Operation Center (DOC). A summary of the case information is also sent to the state health agency, Texas Health and Human Services.
Step 4: Drive-Thu Collection Site
The individual is scheduled for the next drive thru testing event. After individuals have gone though the drive thru, the sample is received and prepared for laboratory testing. The PUI’s personal information on samples is verified.
The laboratory uses the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing. This is considered the “gold standard” of testing, meaning that this test is more accurate than other testing methods. Collection Test Kits require two supplies, the q-tip and the Viral Transport Medium (VTM). After tests are collected, the specimens are placed in an ice chest.
Step 5: Laboratory Testing
The specimens are then prepped and extracted with Extraction Kits. Extraction Kits go into the laboratory machines. After the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is extracted by the machine, laboratory technicians place the RNA in a well or plate.
If individuals are negative, they are contacted and informed. The process is complete.
If the Individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the case is submitted to Texas Health and Human Services within 24 hours of receiving the positive result. The individual is informed that they are positive and that they need to isolate. CCNCPHD staff also begin the Contact Tracing process.
Step 6: Contact Tracing
The first positive case is called the index case. CCNCPHD staff ask this person questions about where this person has been and what they have done recently. Staff tries to determine how this person became infected, and if this person has infected others. Staff places phone calls to persons who may have come in contact with the individual (the index case). During Contact Tracing, other individuals who are ill may be found. These individuals may then begin the process as a Person Under Investigation (PUI).
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