Even as the infection cases decline and things get back to normal, Covid-19 remains amidst us hence the need for preventive measures. The virus can still spread, cause panic and lead to lockdown; suppose we get reckless. One way to be cautious and avoid further consequences is to do the tests, especially when we suspect anything.
It is much easier to get the test done, but there are certain concepts you need to know about the tests. These concepts will guide you on how, when, where, and why to do the tests. Here are some key concepts.
1 Where can I do the test?
There are different facilities currently offering Covid-19 tests. When you have the symptoms, it is best to walk into a healthcare facility for the test and subsequent medical diagnosis. You can walk to the nearest hospital or clinic for the test.
If you plan to travel or you need the test to rule out any suspicions, you can contact independent and government laboratories for the tests. If you need Covid testing West Palm Beach FL, you should visit only certified laboratories that issue the tests.
These tests will also be ideal when you return from a journey or plan to visit someone vulnerable to get the condition. You can also do a self-test from the comfort of your home. Buy the kits from labs, then read the guidelines for conducting the tests and interpreting the results. However, such kits may not be entirely reliable.
2. When to get tested?
Besides walking to the stations to get a random test, consider these occasions the best tie to get the tests.
- If you have symptoms related to Covid-19, you need to get the tests immediately.
- Suppose you have interacted with someone diagnosed with the disease. If exposed to someone with the condition, you must wait about five days before getting the tests since rapid tests can lead to inaccurate results.
- If you are in a high-risk setting or you come back from a journey. You should begin the screening programs if you attended a crowded event.
- Consider testing before you visit someone with a high risk of contracting the disease. Take the test before visiting a newborn child or an elderly facility.
3. Types of tests
The test is conducted by testing the specimen from your mouth or nose. There are two main tests the lab technicians will conduct.
- Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT)/Molecular or PCR
The tests are ideal for people with or without the Covid symptoms. They are PCR-based and mainly conducted in laboratories. It tests and detects the virus’s genetic material to produce either positive or negative results. It can identify the virus’s presence in the body 90 days after you test positive.
- Antigen tests/rapid tests
These are the quickest tests, and the results are usually available between 15 to 30 minutes of the test. They are the least reliable and less extensive than NAATs. They are not suitable for those infected but without symptoms. Therefore, you may need subsequent tests to identify the virus’ presence. If you get a negative result, you should repeat the test within 48 hours or when the symptoms begin showing up.
These are home-based tests, mainly antigen tests based on the kits bought from pharmacies.
4. What does the test result mean?
If you do the test and the results are positive, you have the disease and should embark on medication and possibly quarantining to avoid infecting others. If the results are negative yet you feel the symptoms, you can undergo extensive molecular and PCR tests to identify the virus’s presence. Such results are possible when you use fake kits to test at home or conduct rapid tests that may not be entirely accurate. If you have a negative test from all the tests performed, you do not have the virus but should try again days later.
5. Should I do the test even if vaccinated?
Being vaccinated does not mean you are free from Covid and cannot get it. It means your immunity is higher to limit the chances of getting the virus. It also means the body is well equipped to fight the virus should it get into the body. This explains why vaccinated people may not feel the symptoms despite contracting the condition. There are cases of people vaccinated but still vulnerable to the condition.
The vaccine does not keep the virus from the body; it gets into you through various ways; hence you need the test whenever you suspect you may have contracted the virus. With the vaccine, the chances of you having negative results are high; accordingly, you should consider the molecular and PCR test for more accuracy.
6. How long does it take to get the test results?
The duration varies based on the type of test conducted; however, they should not take more than 24 hours. You should get your results within 24 hours after sample collection. The facility will mail you the results, or you can collect them after 24 hours. For antigen or rapid tests, you should anticipate the results within 30 minutes.
Covid-19 tests are widely available for anyone who meets the criteria for taking a test. You also owe your loved one a duty of care; hence you need the test to avoid infecting them. Ensure you get the test from accredited facilities or buy legitimate kits for testing. Follow all the guidelines issued by bodies such as CDC to ensure you have accurate results.