Covid-19 cases have been significantly declining as more people get vaccinated against the disease. Additionally, health officials have been gradually easing quarantine protocols and mask mandates for the past months, allowing people to live their pre-COVID lives.
Despite these breakthroughs, there’s no denying that the coronavirus continues to infect people and develop new strains. That’s why the CDC still encourages everyone to get tested, even if they already have the vaccine.
But with various tests available, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. So here are some of the most important things you need to know about COVID-19 testing.
Immediate Medical Care MD provides a full range of covid-19 testing in Ossining, including Rapid COVID-19 antigen testing, in-house molecular testing, and PCR testing when needed, which is sent to a lab.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus is a contagious and infectious viral illness caused by SARS-Cov2. It spreads from person to person through an infected individual’s aerosol droplet from their mouth and nose.
Most people infected with the virus will exhibit mild to moderate respiratory symptoms that usually clear out on their own. Some of the symptoms include the following:
- Sore throat
- Fever or chills
- Muscle aches
- Breathing difficulties
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Loss of smell and taste
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
Some may get better through the help of medications, ample rest, and proper hydration. However, individuals with a weakened immune system may experience severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Individuals with mild to moderate symptoms usually recover within a week or two. But others, especially immunocompromised people, can take at least four weeks or more before they get better.
When do you need COVID testing?
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to learn about the disease and be proactive about early testing. Knowing your COVID status gives way to early diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and prompt prevention. Additionally, infected individuals can quickly take preventive actions (e.g., isolation) to reduce the spread of the virus.
But when should you get tested? According to the WHO, individuals should get themselves tested if:
- You have the above-mentioned symptoms.
- You got exposed or have close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, even though you’re asymptomatic.
- You work in a high-risk setting, such as hospitals or isolation centers.
- You had a ose contact with a high-risk individual.
- You were advised by a physician to get tested.
Patients with symptoms should get tested immediately. However, asymptomatic individuals should wait at least five days after the exposure to get accurate results. Getting tested too early may yield a false-negative result since the virus is still in its incubation period or have a low viral load.
Why should you get tested?
One of the reasons why COVID-19 spread faster and became a pandemic is due to a lack of testing. Not being able to determine whether you have COVID or not is the easiest way to infect others, especially those you come in contact with every day.
With the emerging COVID variants, testing is both beneficial and crucial. It allows you to get diagnosed early on, isolate, and receive the proper treatment promptly. It will also help protect your loved ones, especially children and seniors.
What are the different types of COVID-19 tests?
Various diagnostic and confirmatory tests exist to determine the presence of the coronavirus in a person. They are as follows:
A molecular test can tell whether you have Sars-COV2 in your body by detecting the presence of the virus’ RNA material. It works by amplifying the virus's genetic material so the testing machine, such as a PCR, can identify its presence in a specimen.
Molecular tests can both act as diagnostic and confirmatory tests due to their accuracy. It can detect the virus’ genetic material in the body, which typically stays for up to 90 days.
An RT-PCR test usually requires a nasopharyngeal swab as its specimen of choice. A small Q-tip will be inserted into your nose at about two to three inches deep. Samples can be taken from on one or both nostrils and then sent to the lab for testing. Some RT-PCR tests may also use saliva or oropharyngeal swab as specimens.
You will get your results after two to three hours.
What does it tell us?
Testing positive on a molecular test means that you have a current and active infection, whether or not you exhbit its symptoms.
An antigen test, also known as a “rapid test,” detects the presence of viral-specific proteins of the Sars-COV2 through a nasal swab. It is called a rapid test since it can give a result as fast as 15 to 30 minutes.
However, an antigen test is less sensitive and specific than that of molecular tests, regardless of where it will be processed (e.g., pharmacy, clinic, laboratory).
It tends to yield a false negative result, especially for asymptomatic patients. Therefore, it should only be used as a diagnostic test and must be followed by multiple antigen testing at 24 to 48-hour intervals.
What does it tell us?
Testing positive means you have an active infection. Testing negative does not rule out the possibility of a viral infection. An RT-PCR test should be performed to confirm your COVID-19 status, especially for patients with symptoms and close contact with high-risk individuals.
An antibody or serological testing detects the presence of antibodies in your body against the coronavirus disease. It typically utilizes blood from a finger prick or venipuncture.
Antibody tests can only determine past infections and not current or active ones. It can also detect antibodies created due to vaccines against COVID-19. So it can’t be used to diagnose a COVID infection or check for immunity.
Frequently asked questions on COVID-19 testing
What kind of test should you choose?
RT-PCR and other molecular tests should be performed on patients exhibiting COVID symptoms and those with close contact with a confirmed COVID case. For individuals who just need a test for formality or documentation (e.g., work-related) purposes, then an antigen test would suffice.
Additionally, if an antigen test is the only one available at the moment, then it should be performed to know your status.
Should I get tested even if I’m already vaccinated?
A fully vaccinated person should still get tested with an RT-PCR test if:
- They exhibited the symptoms of COVID-19 disease
- Had close contact with an infected person
- Works at a high-risk facility
What should I do if I test positive?
Patients with positive results should isolate immediately and inform healthcare authorities about their status. They should also notify their close contact for the past few days about their positive result.
What should I do if I have a negative result but still has COVID-like symptoms?
You should still isolate and inform close contacts or health authorities. A symptomatic person with a negative COVID-19 result may simply mean that there’s not enough viral load to be detected yet.
Another reason would be that the vaccine or the body’s immune system has been clearing the virus, thus making it undetectable. Plus, other types of infectious viruses may be causing your symptoms, so it's best to isolate and quarantine for a while.
Where to get a COVID test in Ossining?
Immediate Medical Care MD is one of the leading urgent care facilities in Westchester County. Our state-of-the-art facility offers various services and provides accessible diagnostic tools, including accurate covid-19 testing in Ossining.
Immediate Medical Care MD remained open every day throughout the heart of the Covid pandemic - when nearly every other facility, other than hospitals, closed. Immediate Medical Care MD and Dr Pani has as a result unparalleled experience of any Urgent Care or private medical office in treating covid and patients who are very ill from Covid. Dr Pani has treated nearly 1000 extremely sick covid patients, and never lost a single patient.
We provide a full range of covid-19 testing in Ossining, including Rapid COVID-19 antigen testing, in-house molecular testing, and PCR testing when needed, which is sent to a lab.
We also have in house facilities for care of patients who are ill with covid, and other respiratory infections, such as RSV, Flu and Bacterial Respiratory Infections, including in-house state of the art X-Ray, in-house respiratory testing and respiratory care, and other treatment.
Dr Pani is also affiliated with local Hospitals, including Northern Westchester Hospital and Phelps Hospital.
Protect your loved ones and prevent the spread of the virus by getting tested now. Visit our facility or contact us at (281)-428-0000 to learn more. You can also simply submit a contact form.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.