Cough, fever, fatigue — these have all been identified as symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. But how do you know if you actually have the virus or another ailment? The only way to get a definitive answer is to get tested. With the healthcare system on overload, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched an online Coronavirus symptom checker, Clara, to help people sort things out.
Clara was created in partnership with the CDC Foundation and Microsoft Azure’s Healthcare Bot service. The hope is that it will ease the stress on the healthcare system so doctors and nurses can treat those who need it the most, especially in areas where services are in high demand.
How Does the Online Symptom Checker Work?
The tool asks a series of questions to help you sort out your symptoms. Don’t assume it’s going to tell you whether or not you have the Coronavirus. That’s not the goal of the program. What it is going to do is help you determine is whether the symptoms you’re having suggest you should seek medical attention.
When you log on, you’ll be asked where you live, your age, and your gender. From there, Clara will go through a list of life-threatening symptoms to see which ones match your condition. Based on your answers, you will be advised about what steps you should take next. It could include anything from rest and taking care of yourself at home to calling 911 immediately. Clara also points out the relevant state’s health department for people to seek advice.
It’s important to understand that the goal of the bot is for it to be used as a medical tool, not a diagnosis maker. When you first launch it, you’ll see a message that reads, “The purpose of the Coronavirus Self-Checker is to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.” If you’re looking for an online COVID-19 diagnosis, you’re not going to get it here or anywhere else.
Other Online Tools for COVID-19 Testing
If you have an Apple device and you’re used to asking Siri questions, you can now ask her if you have Coronavirus. She’ll reply by asking several questions. Based on the answers, she’ll suggest whether you should seek medical help. The new update is not meant to diagnose the virus. It’s just meant to be used as a tool for people to dissect their symptoms and guide them about their next step.