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Loss of smell or taste might signal coronavirus infection, doctors say

Loss of smell or taste might signal coronavirus infection, doctors say
Posted at 10:28 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 13:28:50-04

NEW YORK — Doctors are reporting that people infected with the new coronavirus may lose their sense of smell and perhaps taste.

The World Health Organization is looking into it, but some experts are already saying that changes in taste and smell might be a useful tool to screen people for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. They cite reports from South Korea, China and Italy.

A patient’s loss of smell is referred to as anosmia and a loss of taste is called dysgeusia.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology says anosmia, in particular, has been seen in patients who ultimately test positive for the virus with no other symptoms.

The organization is proposing that these symptoms be added to the list of screening tools for possible COVID-19 infections.

“Anosmia, hyposmia, and dysgeusia in the absence of other respiratory disease such as allergic rhinitis, acute rhinosinusitis, or chronic rhinosinusitis should alert physicians to the possibility of COVID-19 infection and warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing of these individuals,” wrote AAO.

Virus infection is already a known cause of smell loss, and in some cases it can be permanent. But in cases of the pandemic virus, it looks more like a temporary effect.

For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t include anosmia or dysgeusia in their list of COVID-19 symptoms.

CDC officials say to look out for fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, you should seek medical attention immediately. The CDC says these signs include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and blush lips or face.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 and how to help slow the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

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State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27

Rosamond Library
3611 Rosamond Blvd, Rosamond CA 93560

Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin

Wasco Library
1102 7th Street




County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa Wheelchair Logo
  • For Registration call (760) 379-2681 ext 267
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Wednesday - Thursday from 7 am - 2 pm.
Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561

Lamont - Kern County Library
8304 Segrue Road, Lamont, CA 93241
  • For registration call 661-869-6018
  • Drive-Thru and Walk-Up<
  • Testing available for ages 5+ only; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9 am - 2 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 2 pm - 7 pm

Taft - West Side Health Care District
  • For Registration call (661) 765-1935
  • Drive-Thru<
  • TTesting available for all ages; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 11 am – 3 pm