Different types of COVID tests

For the last couple of years, we have been living through a worldwide pandemic, navigating how to adjust our daily life accordingly. One of the things that have become a part of our “new normal” is being tested for the contagious virus. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to be tested for the virus when necessary in order to keep ourselves and others safe.

Whether you want to travel for vacation or need to go to work, you will likely need a COVID test. But, there are several types of COVID tests available, and some people may not know which one they need. That's why we've outlined everything you need to know about COVID testing so you can stay healthy and prepared.

When Should I Be Tested for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that often causes flu-like symptoms. It can be spread by an infected person through coughing or sneezing, or by touching a surface that has been contaminated and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has the virus, you should be tested as soon as possible. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever.
  • Tiredness.
  • Dry cough.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Shortness of breath.

These symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you experience these symptoms, you should be tested for COVID-19.

What Are The Types of COVID Tests?

Since COVID-19 was first identified in 2019, it has spread rapidly around the world, causing a global pandemic. One of the main ways to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through testing. There are several different types of COVID-19 tests available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. At Connected Health, we offer three different COVID-19 tests, such as:

  • Antibody Test

    An antibody test can detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood, showing if you have had a past infection or that you have been immunized. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to help fight infection and protect you from getting sick in the future. This blood test only takes a stick to your finger and provides results in less than 15 minutes.

    A negative test result means that you do not have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. This could mean one of two things: either you have never been infected with the virus, or you were infected but your body has not yet produced antibodies. A positive test result means that you have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. This means you have likely been infected with the virus at some point in the past. It is important to remember that a positive antibody test result does not always mean you are currently infected with the virus.

  • Rapid Diagnostic Test

    A rapid diagnostic test (RDT) is a type of rapid antigen test that can provide results in a matter of minutes. These can be useful in situations where quick results are needed, such as in emergency rooms or doctor’s offices. Rapid antigen testing is very specific to the coronavirus, so if your result is positive, it likely means you are infected. However, rapid tests aren't as sensitive as others, so there's a greater possibility of a false negative result. At Connected Health, our rapid testing process only takes a few minutes and you are also given 30 days of virtual access to a physician for follow-ups and questions.

  • Gold Standard RT-PCR Test

    An RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test was one of the first molecular rapid tests to be authorized and widely used. This test takes a genetic material sample from the nose which is then copied and compared to the genetic sequence of the coronavirus. This test effectively detects the presence of viral genetic material, showing whether you are infected with the virus or not.

    The Gold Standard PCR technique is capable of detecting the genetic material (RNA) of coronavirus even in trace amounts. This means that a patient might be diagnosed as having COVID-19 infection even if their sample has only a small amount of the virus. Our Gold Standard RT-PCR test can be done in just a few minutes from the comfort of your own car. You will typically receive results within 36-48 hours and have 30 days of virtual access to a physician for follow-ups and any questions you may have.

No matter which type of COVID-19 test is used, it is important to remember that no test is perfect. A negative test result does not necessarily mean that a person does not have the virus. It is possible for a person to have a false-negative result, especially if they are tested early on in their illness. Similarly, a positive test result does not necessarily mean that a person has the virus, as a person could have a false positive. Always be sure to follow up with your Connected Health physician for a result confirmation or a follow-up test.

How Can I Get Tested for COVID-19?

If you suspect that you have COVID-19, it's critical to get checked. If you have any signs or symptoms, have been in touch with someone who has the virus, or recently traveled to an area where the virus is widespread, your primary care doctor will most likely order a COVID-19 test.

At Connected Health, we are here to help you with any of your testing needs whether it's for traveling, returning to work, or simply having peace of mind. For each case, there are various criteria that must be met, and we understand how they might seem complicated. That’s why we will assist you in determining whether an antibody test, a rapid diagnostic test, or the Gold Standard RT-PCR test is appropriate for your circumstances.

Connected Health in Wexford, Pennsylvania is a concierge primary medicine practice that believes strongly in putting the focus back on the patient. We offer a variety of services ranging from primary care to COVID-19 testing. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, learn more about our care services, or want to explore your membership options, give us a call at (724) 933-4300. You can also book an appointment online!