What We Know About COVID-19 Active Infection & Antibody Testing
May 5, 2020
The information available on COVID testing is changing rapidly, so please work with your Crucial Care Provider or Primary Care Provider to properly assess and protect your family and yourself.
Our emergency medicine doctors can offer the proper testing options and will assist you in understanding your results.
How Do We Decide To Test For An Active COVID Infection?
- Patients with symptoms are reviewed by our medical provider. The most common symptoms are fever and respiratory illness (e.g. cough, difficulty breathing). Other symptoms may be present and will be considered.
- Your overall health and certain risk factors will also be considered by your medical provider.
- If you are concerned about exposure, you can use the CDC self-checker here to help determine if you want to be tested.
What Kind Of Test Do We Perform?
- We use viral (nucleic acid) tests, also referred to as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
- Our medical staff uses a special swab to collect samples from the back of the throat or deep within the nose. The testing can be briefly uncomfortable.
- Depending on your symptoms and preference, testing may be done at your vehicle to prevent unnecessary exposure. We also have special measures to prevent exposure for those coming into our clinic.
How Long Does It Take To Get My Test Results?
- If you are tested, it is very important that you practice safe social distancing and avoid potential exposure.
- Most patients tested will receive a call with either positive or negative results within 24-48 hours of testing.
- Some insurance companies require specific laboratories that can take longer. We will make every attempt to verify this early.
What Do My Results Mean?
- If your test results are negative:
It means we did not detect the coronavirus. Continue to practice safe social distancing. (Learn more about staying safe.)
- If your test results are positive:
Avoid being in close quarters with others. Try keeping in separate rooms and using a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, do your best to clean and disinfect the surfaces touched the most. (Learn more about disinfecting.)
- For anyone caring for a person with a positive result:
Pay attention to and treat symptoms. Tylenol (or acetaminophen) may help with a fever. Have them drink lots of fluids and rest. Take care of errands for them and limit their exposure to people and pets. If you see any emergency warning signs (difficulty breathing, confusion, inability to wake up) seek immediate care. (Learn more about caring for others.)
How Does Antibody Testing Work?
- Blood samples are taken and sent for testing. Test results can take up to 5 days.
- Positive test results doesn’t necessarily mean you have antibodies for COVID-19 (they could be from a related virus causing the positive result). Positive results do not ensure that you are immune to reinfection.
- Negative test results do not guarantee a person has not had prior exposure, infection or has immunity to COVID-19.
Should I Get An Antibody Test?
- Antibody tests are not performed on symptomatic patients.
- Antibody (or antigen) tests do not detect if you are currently infected.
- Testing is available by patient request, in collaboration with one of our medical providers.
Caring for a Loved One?
If you are caring for a loved one whose doctor isn’t open, we can help. Call us today for a virtual visit with an emergency medicine doctor and get the care they need.