COVID-19 Testing and Information
COVID TESTING IS AVAILABLE AT OUR LOCATION
CALL US FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS INCLUDING INFORMATION ON OUR TELEMEDICINE CONSULTATIONS IF YOU FEEL COVID TESTING MAY BE APPROPRIATE FOR YOU.
What We Know
Two types of testing currently exist for the COVID19 virus. They are:
PCR Testing – used to identify active COVID19 virus in a sick person. These tests are conducted by performing a nasal or oral swab with a long Q-tip. The samples are preserved in a special liquid and sent to an outside lab for processing. The turn-around time varies depending on the number of tests the lab processes daily but generally runs 2-4 days although we have seen periods up to 12 days.
Antibody Testing – used in a healthy person to identify if your body has been exposed to or infected with the COVID19 virus. These tests are gathered by collecting a blood sample that goes to an outside lab for processing. The turn-around time also varies but is expected to be 2-4 days.
Are these tests accurate?
Accuracy of both types of tests is being studied. As with most tests available today, there are always going to be “false negatives” and “false positives”. It’s important to listen to input from your healthcare provider.
Does the antibody test show if I have had the virus in the past?
It can tell if your body has produced virus fighting antibodies to the COVID19 virus. This could happen as a result of you having the illness or being exposed to the virus.
If I get the antibody test and it shows that I have been exposed does that mean I have immunity?
Possibly but not enough studies have been done to say for certain. It will take a year or more to develop any meaningful answers and guidance for the public.
If I have either had the COVID19 virus or have the antibodies to them can I stop wearing a mask?
No, it is possible that you could contract the virus again or even still have virus in your body that you could pass on unintentionally.
Does the antibody test tell me if I currently have the virus?
No, the PCR test is much better at identifying an active illness. The antibody test simply identifies those that have developed antibodies to the virus.
How long does it take to develop antibodies?
Some reports suggest that healthy people begin making antibodies 11 to 14 days after the exposure. Chronic medical conditions and immune suppressing drugs can delay the response.
Why should I bother getting an antibody test is it doesn’t tell me if I have immunity?
As more studies identify what a positive antibody test can be used for it may be of importance to you. New information is being revealed daily. In addition, the information that is gathered helps in the ongoing public health development of treatments, and vaccines along with providing information that will help guide stay at home and social distancing practices.
It seems like there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the testing. Is this normal?
Remember, viruses have the ability to mutate and change in response to their environment. The virus that causes COVID19 started out as a different coronavirus (there are many that cause the common cold and are seen regularly) and likely mutated to become what we see today. This means that to our healthcare system this virus did not exist prior to the beginning of this year. It takes years to develop and assess tests, vaccines and treatments which is what the scientific community is doing at a feverish pace right now. Until we have a vaccine or an effective treatment it is important that we continue to be vigilant through frequent hand washing, not touching our faces, wearing a mask when in public, and observing proper social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading effectively.
Are the tests FDA approved?
No COVID tests on the market are fully FDA approved at this time. The process takes years in some cases. Because of the potential severity of the COVID19 virus and the rapidity of its spread throughout the world the FDA has allowed testing companies that meet certain basic requirements to release COVID tests under the “Emergency Use Authorization” program.
Are all tests the same quality?
No, there has been evidence of fraud with personal protective equipment and tests coming into the country because of the temporarily relaxed standards. That is why our clinic is only using tests provided by large reference labs locally (LabCorp and Quest) and around the country. We are not sourcing tests from the internet.
The weather is getting nicer. Does that mean that COVID19 will go away like the flu?
We certainly hope so but there is no scientific evidence that will happen. There is also concern that as we get back to normal the virus may begin to spread again. Be patient and be flexible. Until we have both a vaccine and a treatment for this virus you should remain cautious.
COVID TESTING MUST INCLUDE A PROVIDER VISIT FOR US TO COMPLY WITH MALPRACTICE REGULATIONS AND OUR INSURANCE COMPANY CONTRACTS. AFTER YOU CONSULT OUR PROVIDER, THE TEST SAMPLES ARE COLLECTED AND SENT TO THIRD-PARTY LABORATORIES; YOU MAY RECEIVE A SEPARATE BILL FROM THEM IF YOUR INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE HASN’T BEEN MET.