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Teri Lou, December 19 2022

Does Urgent Care Do COVID Testing?

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 testing at Urgent Care

Does Urgent Care Do COVID Testing?

Many urgent cares do COVID testing for those with coronavirus-like symptoms. Urgent cares often offer multiple COVID tests with varying result times and methods. 

For Different Types of COVID Testing in Portland, Learn More with These Dedicated Webpages

How long does it take before I get my results for the COVID-19 antibody test?

Result times can vary but often take between one and three days after testing to get the results. Keep in mind, many labs are inundated with tests, and result time may take longer than expected. The test is done by taking a blood sample and then sent to a lab for processing. 

Should I get tested for COVID-19 if I have no symptoms and I've been exposed?

If you do not have symptoms but have been exposed, it's up to you if you test. Your employee may require a test, or you may want one for your own peace of mind. It's best to wait three to five days after exposure to see if symptoms appear. In the meantime, quarantine if possible or follow safety precautions such as using hand sanitizer, washing your hands frequently, and wearing a face mask. 

If you are tested, you should quarantine and isolate yourself at home until your test results are received, and you should follow the advice of your health care practitioner or a public health specialist. Even if you have been vaccinated, then you should get tested. 

Close contact within 6 feet for fifteen minutes or more with someone who has confirmed COVID constitutes exposure even if the person has been vaccinated. Additionally, if you have taken part in activities that put you at higher exposure risk, such as attending an event in a mass gathering or traveling, that also counts as exposure. Most jobs and schools have established screening programs to ensure the safety of workplaces based on FDA guidelines. When in doubt, contact your primary care doctor for professional recommendations.  

How long is someone contagious after they test positive for COVID-19?

The variant of COVID can change the contagious timeline. However, you are the most contagious before you have symptoms which is what's so precarious about COVID. You will stay contagious for the first several days after symptoms start, which is why the quarantine timeline is ten days. By the ten-day mark, the active virus has cleared from the symptoms. Although, you may show positive for a few months after passing the quarantine time because of antibodies still in the body. 

What are the differences between the nasal swab and saliva tests for COVID-19?

Both nasal swabs and saliva tests are equally qualified at detecting COVID-19 and can prevent exposure to the medical staff conducting the test. With a nasal swap, a long Q-tip goes two inches into the nose and swirls around for a few seconds to collect nasal fluid for testing. Not only are they safe, but they are not painful for those with moist noses. 

The saliva tests are self-administered as you only need to spit in a funnel tube several times and then screw on the cap. Hand the test to the technician, and you are done. Saliva tests are much more comfortable but may require short-term fasting for the most accurate results. Children often do better with the saliva tests as they are less ticklish and easier to administer. 

What is the difference between the types of tests available for COVID-19?

COVID-19 has several forms of testing for the antibodies. First, there are the viral tests, both rapid and laboratory tests. These tests are taken with a swab in the mouth or nose. The rapid tests can provide results in just minutes, while lab tests can take a couple of days, depending on several factors. In addition, self-tests can work at home and provide almost instant results. 

The tests have more scientific names; there are PCR testing or polymerase chain reaction test that go to a lab for testing. LFTs or lateral flow tests can diagnose on the spot but are not as accurate as of the PCR tests. In addition, PCR tests have some caveats as they can take longer and have false negatives up to 30 percent of the time. Basically, they can confirm the presence of infection but not necessarily if the virus is still active. 

Lateral flow tests are similar to the PCR as they are both antigen tests that can pick up active antibodies from the virus. The major advantage is that they can give results in just 15 to 20 minutes but are not as accurate as the PCR tests that go to the lab. However, the accuracy is still around 72 percent. 

Antibody tests, also called serology tests, can detect COVID-19 in blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system to aid in the battle against infection and to keep you from being ill in the future. However, you cannot use these to diagnose a current infection, but a past infection or have had the vaccine. 

Another test option recently came to the market called ID NOW, and it's a rapid molecular test used by some testing locations like pharmacies. Often the results are in just 15 minutes with a moderate to high test sensitivity making them quite reliable. It's similar to PCR but with lower sensitivity but more accurate than an antigen or antibody test.  

Finally, at-home tests are another option. An antigen is used in all of the home tests that provide fast results. However, some home kits that utilize molecular technologies need sending a sample to a lab. Whereas testing at pharmacies and doctors' offices is usually free or reimbursed by insurance, a home test, which can cost anywhere from $24 for a set of two to $38 for one, may not be covered by your insurance company.

What is the difference between COVID-19 antibody test and PCR test?

Antibody tests check the blood and can detect the virus but no live virus. The PCR test can check for the accurate, current activity of antibodies and take almost no time to produce results. Keep in mind the PCR test is the one you need if you want to go back to work, as this is the one that tests for the live virus. While the antibody test is very accurate, it cannot tell you if the antibodies are past or present. If you need to go back to work, then you will want to get a PCR test, not a blood test. 

What is the COVID-19 antibody test?

Antibody tests check for antibodies produced by the immune system in response to a specific threat, such as a virus. Antibodies can aid in the battle against infections. However, antibodies can take days or weeks to form after an infection, and they can persist in your blood for weeks after you've recovered. Antibody testing should not be utilized to diagnose an active coronavirus infection because of this. In addition, researchers are unsure whether the presence of antibodies means you will be immune to the coronavirus in the future.

Does an antibody test diagnose an active COVID-19?

No, antibodies can take days or weeks to form after an infection, and they can persist in your blood for weeks after you've recovered. Therefore, antibody testing should not be utilized to diagnose an active coronavirus infection because of this. As a matter of fact, antibody testing (also called serology testing) is done after someone fully recovers from COVID-19. 

A blood sample is taken, commonly by a finger prick or by taking blood from a vein in the arm, by a health care expert. After then, the sample is analyzed to see if you've acquired antibodies to the virus. The immune system develops these antibodies – proteins that are crucial for fighting and clearing out the virus.

If your test results reveal antibodies, you were most certainly infected with COVID-19 at some point in the past. It could also imply that you are immune. However, there is not enough research to say whether carrying antibodies protects you from COVID-19 reinfection. The level of immunity and the duration of immunity are unknown. More information will eventually be revealed as a result of ongoing research.

The accuracy of an antibody test is affected by the time and type of test. The test may not detect antibodies if it is done too early in the course of an infection when the immune response is still growing up in your body. As a result, antibody testing should be delayed for at least 14 days following the onset of symptoms.

What kind of sample is used to test for COVID-19?

Different tests are permissible to be applied with various sample types. Swab samples use a long Q-tip to collect a sample from the nose or mouth. Anterior Nares or Nasal samples collect from inside the nostrils. Mid-turbinate takes samples from farther up the nose. Nasopharyngeal work even deeper in the nose all the way to the back of the throat. Oropharyngeal take samples from the middle of the throat, also called the pharynx, just past the mouth. 

Alternatively, saliva samples are spit out by the patient into a tube instead of using a nose or throat swab. Next, blood samples are taken from a finger prick to gain access to blood. Another kind of test are pooled samples which combine samples from several people when negatives are suspected. The method saves time and materials, allowing labs to do more tests at once. If a positive come back, then the entire group is retested to find out which person has a positive result. 

Should vaccinated people get tested for COVID-19?

Even if you're fully vaccinated, you should get tested for COVID-19 if you experience symptoms. While waiting for test results and clinical examination, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should isolate themselves from others. You don't need to get tested if you don't have COVID-19 symptoms and are completely vaccinated, even if you've been exposed. However, fully vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 should be tested in certain contexts, including hospital settings.

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Written by

Teri Lou

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