Kansas doctors urge those feeling ill to get tested

Coronavirus in Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Doctors in Kansas have a simple message for those who are feeling ill: Get tested.

COVID-19 cases are surging across the country, and Kansas is no exception. To make matters worse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Kansas as among the five states and territories with the highest flu activity levels in the country, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported Thursday.

Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Health System, said testing is important to determine if those who are feeling sick have COVID-19, the flu or a simple cold. He said all are viruses that can present in similar ways.

Other doctors agree.

“There is absolutely no way based on symptoms that you can distinguish between a common cold, omicron and delta,” said Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU’s Kansas City, Kan., hospital.

Rachael Liesman, director of KU’s clinical and molecular microbiology laboratories, said the flu began circulating in early December, mostly the H3N2 variety “which tends to be a bit more of a severe flu year than other years.”

Getting tested for COVID-19 is proving challenging. Several testing sites in Kansas are reporting long lines, and at-home testing kits are sold out at many stores.

To find free testing in your community or learn about eligibility, visit knowbeforeyougoKS.com.

To learn more about the vaccines and schedule a vaccination appointment, visit kansasvaccine.gov/.

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