There is substantial interest in using presenting symptoms to prioritize testing for COVID-19 and establish symptom-based surveillance. However, little is currently known about the specificity of COVID-19 symptoms. To assess the feasibility of symptom-based screening for COVID-19, we used data from tests for common respiratory viruses and SARS-CoV-2 in our health system to measure the ability to correctly classify virus test results based on presenting symptoms. Based on these results, symptom-based screening may not be an effective strategy to identify individuals who should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection or to obtain a leading indicator of new COVID-19 cases.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Viral infection.
© The Author(s) 2020.