One of the most FAQs about COVID-19 is, “Where do I find COVID testing near me?”
You may have this question if you are currently presenting Coronavirus symptoms, or if you have recently spent time with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
In this article, we will cover guidelines on COVID testing, including types of lab tests, where and how to get tested, and who is eligible to get a COVID test.
Types of COVID Tests
There are two different methods to test for COVID: Viral tests and antibody tests.
Viral tests are used to diagnose if you have COVID-19. The main features of viral tests are the following:
- Viral tests can only tell if you are currently infected with COVID-19. It cannot show if you were sick in the past.
- The test is a non-invasive procedure where a healthcare provider collects a biological sample from your respiratory system. The sample collecting process usually consists of introducing a swab inside your nose.
- Depending on the test kit, your results could either be delivered in less than an hour or in 1 to 2 days.
Antibody tests analyze a blood sample to determine if you were infected with COVID-19 before. The main features of antibody tests are the following:
- Antibody tests are usually done in patients who previously had a positive viral test for COVID-19.
- An antibody test cannot confirm current COVID-19 infections. This is because our bodies take from 1 to 3 weeks to generate antibodies against COVID-19. Therefore, if the test is done before this time-lapse, it is more likely to give inaccurate results.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
Eligibility for COVID-19 testing — included both antibody blood tests and viral tests — depends on decisions made by the state, local health departments, or healthcare providers.
If you want to get tested, you can either opt to:
- Check the latest information about COVID testing on the official website of local health departments.
- Contact your healthcare provider to see if they are testing for COVID-19.
What to expect during a COVID-19 test
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or suspect you may be infected, then you must quarantine yourself, and call your healthcare provider before visiting any healthcare facility. A healthcare professional will determine whether it is necessary for you to get tested.
Collection of samples
Nasal or saliva samples used for viral tests have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be collected at home and later to be sent to a lab to be analyzed. However, not all healthcare departments offer this option, so you may have to visit a healthcare facility to get tested.
For antibody tests, you will need to visit a healthcare center where a sample of your blood will be collected.
Can I get false positives or negatives on my results?
COVID-19 tests are not 100% accurate. Here is why:
- False-positive on Antibody tests. This may happen when our bodies develop antibodies to other types of coronaviruses, such as for the flu.
- False-negative on Antibody tests. This may happen for certain people whose metabolism takes longer than the average to develop antibodies.
- False-positive on Viral tests. This is possible and can be confirmed when an antibody test is negative -- — meaning you didn’t have COVID-19.
At BASS Urgent Care, our healthcare professionals can guide you towards how to get tested for COVID-19. We are currently providing Urgent Care Online through our website. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any further doubts. We are here for you.