With COVID-19 still prominent around the world, testing remains a key component in the effort to prevent the spread and mitigate the far-reaching impact of the dreaded disease.
Here are questions about COVID-19 testing that you will want to ask your family physician along with the possible answers to give you a basic idea before your appointment.
Q: What Types of Testing Are Available?
There are different types of COVID-19 tests available, including:
- Molecular/PCR test- This requires taking a specimen from the nose and/or mouth to check for current infection. This type of test works by detecting the genetic material of the virus. The genetic material is amplified during the testing procedure, making it highly sensitive to detect even the slightest traces of the virus.
- An antigen test- Also known as lateral flow test, this detects the presence or absence of the SARS-CoV-2 antigen. Antigen tests provide quick results and are useful screening tests, but are generally less sensitive than PCR tests.
- An antibody test- This looks for antibodies (proteins carried by your immune system) in your blood, which fight the virus.
Q: Who Should Get Tested for COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends COVID-19 testing for the following groups of people:
- Those who have symptoms of COVID-19;
- Those who have had contact with someone who is either suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19;
- Those who are fully vaccinated, but have had recent exposure to the virus or are experiencing symptoms thereof;
- Those who are not fully vaccinated, who have been asked or referred to get tested by their workplace, school, healthcare provider, or state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.
Q: If I Don’t Have Symptoms, Do I Still Need to Get Tested?
It is believed as many as 31 percent of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and are also responsible for the significant transmission of the virus.
Regular antigen testing is a quick and easy test that can help identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.
If you suspect you have been exposed to the virus, you should still exercise the correct precautionary measures regardless of whether you have the symptoms or not.
If you are fully vaccinated but have been exposed to COVID-19, it is recommended that you get tested three to five days after your suspected exposure, and wear a mask indoors for two weeks or until you test negative.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you should quarantine and get tested immediately after being identified, and get tested again five to seven days after your last exposure (or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine).
Q: Where Do I Get A COVID-19 Viral Test?
The easiest way to get a viral test is to visit your healthcare provider. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, you should call your doctor’s office first to ask about how to proceed with the testing.
Drive-up COVID-19 testing is often available to patients. Your healthcare provider may also consider a self-collection kit or self-test if you have symptoms. Self-collection kits and tests are available over the counter, or by prescription, from a pharmacy or retail store.
You can also visit the CDC website or your local health department’s website for the latest information on COVID-19 testing.
Q: What Are the Main Symptoms of COVID-19?
A number of key symptoms have been identified in COVID-19 positive patients, including:
- Dry and persistent cough
- Fever and/or chills
- Nasal congestion and/or runny nose
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Sore throat
- Tiredness (fatigue)
The disease has also been found to cause atypical symptoms— such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, aches and pains, a skin rash, and multi-organ dysfunction—or those associated with other types of upper respiratory tract infections, such as the flu, making it difficult to diagnose based on symptom assessment alone.
Covid testing is the only way to accurately confirm whether symptoms are related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing in Fort Worth, TX
At Texas Medical Institute, our highly-skilled providers offer a comprehensive range of services for all of your health care needs. We offer drive-up COVID-19 testing, along with virtual visits and telemedicine calls, to ensure you have access to high-quality care whenever you need it.
To find out more about COVID-19 testing or to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call us at (817) 615-8633. You can also use our convenient request an appointment form.