Which Rapid COVID-19 Test Should I Get? Does It Matter?

January 7, 2022

Which Rapid COVID-19 Test Should I Get? Does It Matter? Post By AFC Urgent Care Springfield

 

With the Omicron variant circulating around Massachusetts,  you may be worried about all the gatherings you went to over the holidays. Chances are you may have been exposed. This is why it’s important to keep on testing,  so we can avoid any unnecessary spread of the virus. 

But, which rapid COVID-19 test should I get? Does it REALLY matter? Yes, your choice of COVID-19 test matters because you don’t want to get a false negative or choose a test that’s not accepted for return to work, school, or to travel. We know it’s confusing, but AFC Urgent Care Springfield is here to help break down the differences of your COVID-19 testing options.

There Is More Than One Rapid COVID-19 Testing Option

A “proof of test” is something we hear all the time. But, which one is the right test? PCR tests are considered a “proof of test” because they’re the gold standard of all COVID-19 testing options. They’re the most reliable and accurate because of the test method used to detect the COVID-19 virus. PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, uses a molecular testing method that converts the RNA of the virus into DNA. It makes millions of copies so that it can test against the genetic material of the virus to determine if you’re positive or not. The only drawback to the PCR test is that it can take up to 2-3 days to get results.

What about rapid tests? Not all rapid tests are the same. Fortunately, there is a Rapid Molecular test that is a faster version of the PCR test,  making it the most accurate and fastest test you can take. There are other rapid tests on the market, such as the at-home antigen test that you can order online or pick up at a CVS or Walgreens, that can often be confusing because they also promise “quick results”. 

At-home Antigen tests bought online or at pharmacies and offered at some clinics are most effective if you’re symptomatic in the early stages of infection. Instead of looking at the genetic material that molecular PCR tests do, Antigen tests only to detect specific proteins of the live virus. Antigen tests are meant to be done in a series of tests over a span of a few days. The trade-off in speed is that these tests are not as accurate or reliable as PCR tests. They are appealing because they say “results in minutes” and are readily available at a cheaper cost in pharmacies and clinics.

The Problem With Antigen Rapid Tests Versus Rapid Molecular Tests

The main problem with Rapid Antigen tests is that they’re not widely accepted as a “proof of test” when traveling, going to work, or determining if you are sick or not. You could be asymptomatic or symptomatic, but past the early stages and the antigen test often produce a false negative. 

Don’t always assume when using an Antigen test that one test is all you need. You may have to follow up with a PCR test or a rapid Molecular test making it more of a hassle for you to get a second test. 

The bottom line is, if you’re looking for accuracy and reliability a PCR test and/or a rapid Molecular test is the way to go.

AFC Urgent Care Springfield offers Rapid Molecular Testing 7 days a Week

***NEW

The CDC guidelines have recently been updated to shorten the quarantine and isolation time for people who test positive in the U.S. 

Isolation time has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days. It is required to wear a mask for another 5 days as an extra precaution. For more information and guidance,click here.

Get the results from the brand you can trust. AFC Urgent Care Springfield offers Rapid Molecular testing 7 days a week  7 days a week.  **Due to the high demand during the holiday crunch time, we have installed a temporary ticketing system. We are asking that you come in in the morning and grab a ticket that will assign you a time to come back and be seen that day.

Rapid Molecular Testing is the best of both worlds. Not only do you get the most accurate results, you also get them on the same day. Make sure you stick around as results do come quickly in 20-30  minutes. We’ll hand you your results and give you the proof you need to live life uninterrupted.

AFC in Springfield, Massachusetts is your go-to walk-in clinic for your urgent care needs. We also offer flu shots for the twindemic (Yes, you can also get the flu this winter), X-rays, physicals for new jobs, and many other non-life threatening health care needs. 

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Call (413) 782-4878 for more information about our Springfield urgent care services.

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