• Vice President Mike Pence described the COVID-19 test as 'invasive' 
  • COVID-19 tests require a swab from uppermost part of the throat
  • Pence also urgedasymptomatic Americans not to get tested amid the test shortage

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence were tested for coronavirus after a staff member from his office tested positive for the virus. The couple both tested negative and, at a press briefing on Sunday, the vice president described the experience as "kind of invasive."

"The test was quick, but it goes a fair amount to the sinuses and it is not comfortable," Pence said. Similarly, President Donald Trump was also given the test earlier and he described it as something he would not want to do every day.

This is because the coronavirus test requires a sample to be taken from the uppermost part of the throat using a nasopharyngeal swab. This is done by inserting the swab into the patient’s nose, twirling it around for about 10 seconds to get a good sample then, removing the swab and placing it in a vial. Some patients even need to be tested with multiple swabs.

Experts have said that, while the test can be uncomfortable for some people, it should not be painful. However, it can often make people gag.

At the press briefing, Pence also urged asymptomatic Americans to not get tested. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidelines for coronavirus testing but it also notes that decisions about testing remain with state and local health departments, especially considering that there are still not enough testing kits for everyone.

For instance, Los Angeles and New York City recommend that doctors should avoid testing patients for coronavirus unless testing would significantly affect or change the way the patient is being treated. Although there are so far no restrictions on who can be tested for COVID-19, hard-hit Washington State also has its own recommendations on who should get tested.

In general, the CDC recommends clinicians to use their own judgment to determine whether a patient needs to be tested. Priorities for testing include hospitalized patients with symptoms compatible with COVID-19, symptomatic individuals who are older adults or those with chronic medical conditions and healthcare personnel who may have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of the onset of the symptoms.

Patients who are mildly ill are advised to stay at home, get some rest and stay away from other people in the house. However, they should immediately call their healthcare provider if they exhibit more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing.

So far, there are at least 32,000 confirmed cases and at least 400 COVID-19 deaths in the United States, making it the third most infected country in the world.

Vice President Mike Pence was at a conference along with Trump attended by delegates who later tested positive for the coronavirus
Vice President Mike Pence was at a conference along with Trump attended by delegates who later tested positive for the coronavirus AFP / Eric BARADAT