What Steps Should You Take If You Want To Get Tested
Testing for COVID-19 is currently limited to people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the official name for the novel coronavirus, or who have certain symptoms, like those outlined above.
On April 21, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the first COVID-19 home testing kit. Using the cotton swab provided, people will be able to collect a nasal sample and mail it to a designated laboratory for testing.
The emergency use authorization specifies that the test kit is authorized for use by people who healthcare professionals have identified as having suspected COVID-19.
remains the primary COVID-19 diagnostic testing method in the United States. This is the same type of test that was used to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome when it first appeared in 2002.
To collect a sample for this test, a healthcare provider will likely perform one of the following:
- swab your nose or the back of your throat
- aspirate fluid from your lower respiratory tract
- take a saliva or stool sample
Researchers then extract nucleic acid from the virus sample and amplify parts of its genome through a reverse transcription PCR technique. This essentially gives them a larger sample for viral comparison. Two genes can be found within the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
Test results are:
- positive if both genes are found
- inconclusive if only one gene is found
- negative if neither gene is found
rapid coronavirus diagnostic test as part of its efforts to expand screening capacity.
How Lateral Flow Testing Was Trialled
The tests underwent a rigorous validation process including evaluations from Public Health England and the University of Oxford. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency provides ongoing regulatory oversight.
Trials were carried out on the tests in a wide range of environments.
Large-scale pilots have also been carried out, including the whole city pilot in Liverpool in November 2020. As a result of the pilot, 897 positive individuals who would not otherwise have known they were infected, tested positive using lateral flow tests.
What To Do After An Inconclusive Result
It can be frustrating to get an inconclusive result after you get tested for COVID-19.
No matter what your reason for deciding to get tested for COVID-19, if you got inconclusive results, you should go back and get another test.
Continue to self-isolate or follow the quarantine-related guidelines you were already following until you get your test results.
If at any point you have further questions about what to do after inconclusive lab results, contact your health care provider or your local health department.
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What Should I Do If My Covid
You went through all of the trouble of getting a COVID test and you were expecting a clear answer, but unfortunately, its not always that simple. If you had an inconclusive test result, you may be wondering what you should do next. So weve broken it down for you.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if youve been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting another test if your first one was inconclusive. This is particularly true if your first test was something called a rapid test or a rapid antigen test.
While these rapid tests are helpful when it comes to identifying a lot of cases of COVID-19, theyre not always quite as good as PCR tests at detecting the virus. Thats why the CDC recommends getting a PCR test if your rapid antigen test was inconclusive, or even if it was negative but you have a known exposure or symptoms of COVID-19 .
While Waiting For Pcr Test Results
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While you are waiting for your test results:
- If you have symptoms, you must isolate until you have had confirmation of a negative test and your symptoms are no longer present.
- If you have no symptoms AND you have not travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days, you do not need to isolate.
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Return To Work Or School
If you test positive for COVID-19, do not return to work or school until your legal isolation period is over, which is at least 10 days. This may be longer if you continue to experience symptoms.
A negative COVID-19 test or a medical note is not required to return to school, work or activities once your isolation period is over. Find more information on who needs to isolate on the Government of Alberta website.
What Is The Rate Of Co
Because UW testing guidelines have de-emphasized up front co-testing for multiple respiratory viruses, there is relatively little internal data to support a generalized conclusion at this time other than that co-infection with other viruses can occur. A positive result for another virus does not definitively rule out the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
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When To Consider Getting Tested For A Covid
If youve been exposed to the virus or show mild symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor for advice about how and when to get tested. Dont go to your doctors office in person, as you could be contagious.
You can also access the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions to help you decide when to get tested or seek medical care.
If You Have A Negative Covid
- If you have any symptoms, you should stay home until you feel better.
- If your test is negative and you have returned from travel outside of Canada, you must continue to follow all mandatory federal quarantine and testing requirements.
- Your test result is for that point in time only. It doesnt tell you if you have had COVID-19 before.
- Continue to follow all public health measures, Wash you hands carefully and often and monitor yourself for symptoms.
- If you have developed new symptoms since your test, or if you develop new symptoms in the future, isolate and take the COVID-19 self-assessment online again, or call Health Link at 811 for advice.
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My Patient Has A Positive Serology Result And Is Interested In Being A Potential Plasma Donor Where Can I Refer This Patient For More Information
This assay is not meant for the screening of donated blood. However, if a patient is interested in being a potential convalescent plasma donor, please refer him or her to the following website: . At the bottom of this website is the contact information patients can use to get more information about participating.
Back To Basics: Dna And Rna
Lets go back to science class remember all those lessons on DNA and RNA ? DNA and RNA are genetic material found in living things, including humans, animals, plants and even viruses. They carry the specific blue print or building blocks for how living things are made and developed . The genetic blueprint in humans is coded in DNA. Viruses are different as most viruses either have DNA or RNA . The genetic code for SARS-CoV-2 is coded in RNASo, why do we need to know this? Well, the COVID-19 lab test is actually looking for the genetic material of the virus .
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What Happens If I Have No Symptoms By 14 Days From My Exposure
If you self-quarantine for 14 days after your last exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, and have developed no new or worsening symptoms, then you likely were not exposed enough to cause an infection. At that point, you can confirm with your local department of public health and/or your healthcare provider that you can come out of quarantine.
Is Home Testing An Option Is It Reliable
Communities around the country, including in California, Minnesota and New Jersey, are starting to roll out home testing kits. The cost typically is covered by the government if its not covered by your personal insurance. To find out if home testing is available in your area, check your state or local health department website or ask your doctor.
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What If I Have Symptoms But My Test Was Negative
Not all tests are created equal, and some people who actually have COVID-19 have consistently tested negative. If your first test was a rapid antigen test, the CDC recommends getting a PCR test to verify your results .
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate even if youve had a negative test. Contact your healthcare provider to decide if you need to venture out of the house for another test.
Also, if youve had negative test results, you might, in fact, not have COVID-19 at all. Many upper respiratory infections can cause similar symptoms. Getting your seasonal flu shot is a good way to reduce the likelihood youll get the flu and make it easier to rule out the flu as the cause of your symptoms. And while many infections cause cough, fatigue, and muscle aches, COVID-19 causes a telltale loss of sense of smell and taste that isnt as common with other infections.
If you have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection and youve tested negative, its a good idea to isolate anyway. Waiting it out at home can prevent the spread of whatever infection youve got and save others plenty of worry and confusion.
And of course, its important to get vaccinated and continue to wear masks when youre out and about around people who might not be vaccinated. Masks have been proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the more we adhere to guidelines, the sooner we can all get back to normal .
How Does Pcr Actually Detect Covid
As we mentioned earlier, the PCR tests are designed to look for the virus genetic material. Since coronaviruses dont have DNA, the first step of PCR testing is converting the viruss RNA into DNA in a process called reverse transcription. This is because DNA is a lot more stable than RNA. The PCR machine then makes millions of copies of the DNA by running multiple cycles . This process is called amplification and is extremely important in finding even the smallest amounts of DNA. As more cycles are run, more copies of the DNA are made doubling every time it is copied and making it easier to find. If the piece of DNA cannot be copied, there is no virus in the sample, or there is such a low amount that even this very sensitive test cannot detect it.
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If I Get Tested Can I See My Family For The Holidays
Sorry, but a negative test does not mean you can safely visit another household or travel for the holiday to see friends and family. A lot can go wrong between the time you took the test and the moment you hug a family member. False negatives are common with coronavirus testing whether its a laboratory P.C.R. test or a rapid antigen test because it takes time for the virus to build up to detectable levels in your body. Its also possible that you werent infected with the virus when you took the test, but you got infected while you were waiting for the results. And then consider the risk of catching the virus in an airport, on a plane or from a taxi driver or rental car agent and you may end up bringing the virus home with you for the holidays.
I dont want somebody to have a negative test and think they can go visit grandma, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown Universitys School of Public Health.
When Is Medical Care Essential
Some people with COVID-19 feel increasingly short of breath while others breathe normally but have low oxygen readings a condition known as silent hypoxia. Both of these situations can quickly escalate to acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a medical emergency.
Along with sudden and severe shortness of breath, people with ARDS may also have an abrupt onset of dizziness, rapid heart rate, and profuse sweating.
Below are some, but not all, of the COVID-19 emergency warning signs some of which reflect progression to ARDS:
- shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- persistent pain, tightness, squeezing or discomfort in your chest or upper abdomen
- sudden confusion or problems thinking clearly
- a bluish tint to the skin, especially on lips, nail beds, gums, or around the eyes
- high fever that doesnt respond to normal cooling measures
- cold hands or feet
- a weak pulse
Get prompt medical care if you have these or other serious symptoms. Call your doctor or local hospital in advance, if you can, so they can give you instructions on what to do.
Getting urgent medical attention is especially important for anyone at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.
Older adults are most at risk of severe illness, as are people with the following chronic health conditions:
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You Do Not Have To Isolate / Quarantine While Your Are Waiting For Your Test Result If:
- you have not travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days and:
- You have not tested positive on another test in the last 10 days such as a rapid test
- you are waiting for results and you did not have symptoms when you were tested and do not have any now
- you have symptoms of illness that are related to a pre-existing illness or health condition, and are not new.
- you have tested negative for COVID-19 and have no symptoms of illness
- you have tested negative for COVID-19 and have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is related to a pre-existing illness or health condition. We do always suggest you stay home when sick with any illness, until symptoms resolve however, if your COVID-19 test is negative, this is not legally required.
My Test Was Positive But I Feel Fine
Its fantastic that you feel fine, but a positive test, even in the absence of symptoms, is still a reason to stay home. Researchers estimate that a serious portion of people who catch COVID-19 are actually entirely asymptomatic.
Just because you arent coughing doesnt mean you wont infect someone else. In fact, one study found that presymptomatic transmissionthat is, infecting a person before you yourself even start to feel sickis a significant source of spread for the virus .
While its impossible to know just how many people have had COVID-19 and what percentage were asymptomatic, it didnt stop the tiny country of Iceland from trying. In 2020, they implemented a broad testing strategy for random individuals and estimated, based on their findings, that about 50% of cases are asymptomatic .
With that picture in mind, you can imagine just how important it is to get tested and just how important it is to stay home if youve tested positive. The CDC recommends quarantining for at least 10 days after your first positive test .
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What Does This Mean
A negative test means that we have NOT found evidence of the virus which causes coronavirus disease on the swab from the back of your nose/mouth.
- If you were tested because you are having symptoms , it is likely that those symptoms are NOT being caused by COVID-19.
- If you were tested because you were exposed, but have not had any symptoms so far, then this means that we cannot currently find any evidence that you are infected. However, if you were tested before the 14-day mark, it is possible that you were exposed, and will develop new symptoms, but it is too early to find the infection with this test.
Should I Get My Child Re
Repeat testing is not recommended for return to activities after a positive COVID-19 test result. Your child will no longer be considered infectious after the isolation period for the following 3 months. Only get a repeat test before medical procedures, or if your child develops new symptoms, after 3 months from their initial COVID-19 infection.
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How Do I Get A Test How Long Will It Take
Roughly 2 million coronavirus tests are run in the United States every day. But testing availability varies considerably from state to state, even city to city. Tests are generally less available in rural areas or in communities where cases have surged and medical and laboratory resources are stretched.
The best way to find out about testing in your community is to check your local public health department website or call your doctor or a local urgent care clinic. Some cities and towns have also set up drive-in community testing sites. If your doctor or local public health clinic offers rapid testing, you usually can get the result in 15 to 30 minutes. But a positive rapid result might need to be confirmed by an additional test, especially if you dont have symptoms.
In some communities, it can still be difficult to get the results of a laboratory P.C.R. test quickly. A survey from Northeastern University and Harvard Medical School found that this fall, patients had to wait days just to schedule a test and even more time to get results. On average its been taking six or seven days after symptoms start to find out if you have the virus, and by then most people are on their way to recovery, making the test pretty useless. The research also found that Black patients, on average, had to wait almost two days longer to get results than white patients.