LASATA: We must remain vigilant in fight against COVID-19, whether we get it or don’t get it

Last week I was informed I had tested positive for COVID-19. The test was administered Wednesday during a scheduled, unrelated medical appointment. Prior to receiving the test, I had not experienced any symptoms of the coronavirus, and I have not experienced any since. After I announced my positive test result last Friday, I got tested again. The second test came back negative for COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there are currently two types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests being used — molecular tests that detect the virus’s genetic material and antigen tests that detect specific proteins from the virus.

According to the FDA: Antigen tests usually provide results diagnosing an active coronavirus infection faster than molecular tests, but antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection. If an antigen test shows a negative result indicating that you do not have an active coronavirus infection, your health care provider may order a molecular test to confirm the result.

Both of the tests I received were molecular RT-PCR tests. I am not a medical professional, but it is possible that my initial test was a false positive or the second was a false negative. It is possible that I currently have the virus, had the virus and recovered or never had it all. 

What I do know is that COVID-19 is real, is spreading rapidly, and we as individuals must take personal responsibility and do our best to mitigate our risk of exposure. If we receive a positive diagnosis, we must be that much more vigilant, follow medical guidelines, and seek the advice of our physician if we have questions.

The fact of the matter is, no law, executive order or bureaucratic rule is going to stop the spread of COVID-19. Shutting down the state, closing businesses and taking kids out of school will not stop people from getting the coronavirus. The virus is indifferent to government mandates.

The first and most effective defense against COVID-19, the seasonal flu or the common cold is the individual. The person who takes it upon him or herself to follow the necessary precautions that lessen the likelihood of getting infected or infecting others is the one who will make the difference. As a reminder, these precautions include:

• Washing your hands with soap and water.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

• Avoiding contact with people who are sick.

• Staying home if you are sick and contacting your health care provider.

• Keeping at least 6 feet away from one another to the maximum extent possible.

• Wearing a mask or face covering.

• Frequently cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.

If you have questions about the coronavirus or need help finding a testing site, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136 or visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus.

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