What to expect if you're getting tested for COVID-19
Published Friday, April 17, 2020 4:55PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, April 18, 2020 9:03AM EDT
TORONTO -- If you find yourself needing a COVID-19 test, prepare for some discomfort.
Nova Scotia’s Craig Layton took it upon himself to film the diagnostic process to share with others on Twitter.
“Oh, that doesn’t feel very good,” he says in the video, as the doctor sticks a large swab up his nose.
Fortunately, Layton tested negative, and his experience at the IWK Health Center in Halifax is now helping others get a preview of what the process looks like.
The test, as described by the New England Journal of Medicine, begins with the patient blowing their nose and tilting their head back slightly to provide the health-care practitioner easy access to the nasal passageways.
Once the patient's nose is cleared, the health-care worker inserts a long, flexible swab into the patient’s nostril to collect a sample from the depths of their sinuses.
The swab goes quite deep — all the way back to the upper part of the throat behind the nose called the nasopharynx. To ensure that the sample contains enough material, the swab must remain in place for several seconds.
Although unpleasant, widespread testing is considered one of the most effective defences against the pandemic. As testing capacity increases, more Canadians can expect to undergo the diagnostic process.
More than 500,000 tests have been administered across Canada and at least 31,000 people have tested positive. Here is the provincial tally as of Friday.
Number of COVID-19 Tests administered by province
British Columbia: 59,185
New Brunswick: 9,134
Nova Scotia: 20,112
Prince Edward Island: 2,149
Newfoundland & Labrador: 5,370
Northwest Territories: 1,546
Currently, tests are being prioritized for health-care workers, long-term care home residents, people with respiratory symptoms who are in need of hospitalization and anyone part of a suspected cluster of cases.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing and difficulty breathing. Anyone with symptoms is strongly urged by the Public Health Agency of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days and to access the government of Canada’s self-assessment tool here.