The world is improving at managing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, testing remains a crucial tool in controlling the virus’s spread. With several types of COVID-19 tests available, understanding which test is most suitable for your situation and choosing the right provider can be confusing.
Read on to find out the right way to find a COVID-19 test provider.
Different Types of COVID-19 Tests
COVID-19 testing falls into two main categories: diagnostic tests and antibody tests. The kind of test you should take will depend on your specific needs and other factors that we’ll cover later on.
Diagnostic tests, including RT-PCR and antigen tests, detect if you currently have the virus by checking a body fluid sample. Typically, the fluid your healthcare provider will test will be either:
- Mucus from a nasal swab
- Fluid from a throat swab
There are two types of diagnostic tests: RT-PCR and antigen.
RT-PCR tests are often considered the gold standard due to their high accuracy. Antigen tests, often called rapid tests, can provide results quickly but may not be as accurate. Your doctor may recommend that you take an RT-PCR test even if you’ve already taken an antigen test.
Antibody tests determine if you’ve had the virus in the past by detecting antibodies your body may have produced in response to the infection.
As the name suggests, antibody tests check if you have antibodies against COVID-19 in your system. This test does not check whether you are currently infected. A positive result on an antibody test could mean a few different things, such as:
- You have been infected with COVID-19 before but might not have it now.
- You have received a vaccination against COVID-19.
- You have had COVID-19 for a few weeks already.
An antibody test may appear negative if you have been recently infected with COVID-19 but are still early in the infection stage. Getting a test too early will mean your body has not yet developed antibodies.
The type of test you need will depend on several factors, such as whether you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or require testing for travel purposes.
What to Consider When Choosing a Test Provider
Choosing the right COVID-19 testing provider involves considering many different things. When choosing a COVID-19 test provider, consider the following factors:
- Reliability: Ensure that the provider offers FDA-approved or authorized tests. These tests meet specific performance standards and provide more reliable results.
- Accessibility: Consider the testing site’s location, its operation hours, and how long you might have to wait. Some providers offer drive-through testing, which may be more convenient if you have mobility issues or prefer to stay in your vehicle.
- Turnaround Time: Check how long it takes to receive results. While rapid tests can provide results within minutes, PCR test results could take up to a few days.
- Costs and Insurance: Understand the costs associated with testing. Some sites offer free testing, while others may charge. If you have health insurance, check if it covers COVID-19 testing.
- Convenience: Consider the convenience of home tests versus in-person testing sites. A home testing kit will mean that you’ll collect the sample yourself. Once you’ve gotten a sample, you’ll send it to a testing lab. Some home kits will have the equipment to provide the test result at home.
Questions to Ask Potential Providers
Good healthcare providers should be able to answer any questions you might have about COVID-19 testing.
Here are general questions that you’ll want to ask:
- How long will the test take?
- Who should I contact about my results?
- When can I ask about my results?
- What safety measures are in place at the testing site?
- If opting for a home test, what steps should I follow to ensure an accurate result?
You’re not limited to these questions. Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you might have! Collaborating with your doctor is essential to maintaining good health.
Urgent Care COVID-19 Testing in King, NC
Choosing the right COVID-19 test provider is essential in protecting yourself and your community from the virus. There are many things you’ll need to consider when it comes to finding the right COVID testing provider, so it’s best to stay informed. We encourage you to share this information with your friends and family to help them understand how to choose a COVID-19 test provider.
If you need urgent COVID-19 testing in King, NC, visit Cardinal Urgent Care. Our providers have extensive experience providing urgent care, including safe and reliable COVID-19testing. Remember, getting tested when needed is a responsibility we all share in the fight against COVID-19. Stay safe and stay informed!