Gale R. Burstein, MD
, Erie County commissioner of health and a clinical professor of pediatrics
, warns that her department is finding multiple people who are quarantining with COVID-19 symptoms but choosing not to get tested. “We imagine that there are just a lot of people walking around in our community that haven’t been tested, not because of lack of testing, but they just choose not to get tested and [are] exposing other people,” Burstein says. She adds: “I just want to call out to all my health care provider colleagues, please strongly encourage all your patients that have any type of symptoms that could be caused from COVID-19 to get tested.” Those sentiments are echoed by Peter Winkelstein, MD
, clinical professor of pediatrics and executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics
. He says this is crucial for several reasons, the most important of which is that if you are positive, you will know to self-isolate for the proper amount of time. Winkelstein says if people who potentially have COVID-19 are not getting tested, it is possible the infection rate might not paint a full picture of spread in the community.