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Can you get coronavirus from a toilet seat? How long does it take to receive test results?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Public bathrooms

Whether it’s a public bathroom or your own, toilet areas, including the seats, are known to have all kinds of germs on them. Obviously, it’s critical to wash your hands after using the restroom.

Viewers from St. Clair Shores to Wixom asked Local 4 if you can get coronavirus from sitting on a toilet seat.

The simple answer is no, not just from sitting on the seat. That question might have been somewhat in jest, but a study published March 3 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that COVID-19 was detectable in 50 percent of stool samples tested for their study.

While it has not been established that this is a known route of transmission, it does raise the issue and put additional emphasis on hygiene in the bathroom. Again, wash your hands!

Coronavirus test results

Viewer from Novi and Southfield asked if it’s possible to get an immediate answer when a coronavirus test is done.

Right now, the answer is no. After a swab from the back of your nose or throat is taken, the sample still needs to be sent to the state lab in Lansing. Once they run the test, a preliminary result will be available and a confirmatory test will be run at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the criteria being used to decide who can be tested is now broad, practically speaking, the process isn’t quick, and testing will still only be done when exposure risk or illness severity suggest the need.

Widespread, more rapid testing is still many weeks, if not months, away.

Prescription medications

We’ve been suggesting that people maintain a reserve supply of prescription medications. Some insurance companies recognize this is a unique situation and will make exceptions to the usual one month supply rule.

Unfortunately, that policy is not universal. If you are on a critical medication, you should discuss it with your doctor and insurer.


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