Which Test Is Right For Me?
Antigen tests, such as the CareStart Covid-19 antigen test, can be performed quickly with results available in 10-15 minutes. These tests are used to determine if a person is currently carrying the Covid-19 virus. This kind of test will not be able to tell whether you have been previously infected with Covid, nor is it recommended for individuals experiencing severe symptoms or complications of Covid-19 infection. Such individuals should seek emergency medical attention. Individuals who have signs of illness but receive a negative rapid Covid antigen result should consult with their doctor or the health department for guidance on further testing and isolation precautions. Click here for more information from the CDC regarding isolation.
PCR molecular testing is a more specific and precise test. It utilizes a specimen obtained from the nose, nasopharynx or throat that is sent to a lab for processing. Wait times for results usually vary between 24 and 72 hours. Your doctor may recommend this test if you are experiencing signs of Covid infection, even if your rapid antigen test is negative. PCR testing may also be advised for individuals who do not show any symptoms of illness, but have had a negative rapid antigen test following a known exposure to the Covid virus. Your workplace may require a PCR test before returning to work after you have been ill with Covid-19 infection. It is important to know which test your employer will require so that you can return to work safely.
Antibody testing utilizes a blood sample, which can be obtained through a simple finger stick. These tests can detect whether an individual has previously been infected with the novel Coronavirus. Antibody testing is not appropriate for people who believe they may currently be infected with Covid-19.