Is It a Cold or COVID? Health Experts Urge Anyone With Symptoms Get Tested

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Is it a cold or COVID? Experts say it’s impossible to know without a coronavirus test and they are encouraging people to find out to help stop the spread of the delta variant.

This has cars lining up again at testing locations in San Francisco amid the fourth COVID-19 surge. Health experts say this time symptoms can be mild, making it hard to tell if it's a cold or COVID.

“It's more common, headache, sore throats still remain top two symptoms,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin County Deputy Public Health Officer.

In kids, it's more likely to be a fever. There have been occurrences of people having runny noses who think they have a cold and test positive for the virus.

Santora told NBC Bay Area that anyone with cold-like symptoms, vaccinated or not, should get tested -- even kids.

“Because delta appears to be having milder symptoms in kids we're recommending parents get kids tested for COVID-19 even if presenting with allergy-like symptoms,” said Santora. “That's a change from the end of last school year.”

Guidance that has the demand for testing going up along with positive cases.

Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco's director of public health said there is a need to expand testing options. 

“We're exploring a number of possibilities we know compared to where we were there is a lot more home testing available we're encouraging people to use that as necessary and then talking to our partners about expanding testing opportunities in the future,” he said.

Colfax adds that while the department looks into increasing testing capacity, boosting vaccination levels is the main focus.

While COVID symptoms can be mild, infected people are still landing in the hospital. Most are not vaccinated.

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