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COVID-19 Testing Q&A


Many people may be confused about the different types of COVID-19 testing and whether the tests are accurate. La Providence Pediatrics & Family Clinics in NO OPTIONS SELECTED can help you sort through the information, explain the pros and cons of each test, and recommend the best one for you. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature today.

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

You should get tested for COVID-19 if you:

Have symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Skin rash
  • Discoloration of fingers and toes
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Though not as common, you can also have neurological symptoms like dizziness, changes in vision, and delirium.

Had close contact with someone who has COVID-19

Close contact means that you were closer than six feet for 15 minutes or longer. If you were that close to someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested.

Participated in a high-risk activity

You should get tested if you took part in an activity where you couldn’t stay six feet apart from others, or you were in a crowd where people didn’t wear masks.

Were asked to get tested

Your physician or someone from your local health department who’s doing contact tracing may call and ask you to get tested.

Both the rapid tests and the PCR tests check your sample for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

La Providence Pediatrics & Family Clinics offers the antibody test, rapid COVID-19 test, and PCR COVID-19 test to patients at their practice location in NO OPTIONS SELECTED.

What is a COVID-19 antibody test?

An antibody test does not diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. Instead, it shows that you already had an infection because your body made antibodies to fight the virus.

Your provider may do an antibody test after you recover from COVID-19. If you test positive for antibodies, you may have some natural immunity. But COVID-19 is such a new disease that the experts don’t yet know the strength of your immunity and how long it will last.

You need to wait at least 14 days after your symptoms begin to have an antibody test. Then your provider does the test by taking a sample of your blood, either through a finger prick or by drawing blood from a vein.

What is the rapid COVID-19 test?

The rapid COVID-19 test is also called an antigen test because it identifies the presence of SARS-CoV-2 fragments (antigens). This test can produce results within 15 minutes when it’s analyzed in the office. It takes a few days to get results if the test is sent to a lab.

Your provider does this test by inserting a swab through your nose and guiding it to the back of your throat. Then they gently rotate the swab, allowing it to collect secretions.

When a rapid COVID-19 test is properly processed, it produces reliable results. However, the results are less sensitive than other tests and may produce a false negative.

The rapid test is most likely to give inaccurate results when you’re infected but don’t have symptoms. In some cases, your provider may ask you to get another test to verify your results.

What type of COVID-19 test is the PCR?

This test is extremely accurate because it detects genetic material from SARS-CoV-2. Your provider collects a fluid sample by swabbing your throat or nose, or by asking you to spit into a tube.

Your sample is then analyzed using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Your results are available in a very short time if your sample is analyzed on-site. If it goes to an outside lab, it takes a few days.

If you need to schedule a COVID-19 test, call La Providence Pediatrics & Family Clinics or schedule an appointment online today.

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