COVID-19 Testing Is Not “One” Type Of Test: Know Your Options And Differences

January 7, 2022

COVID-19 Testing Is Not “One” Type Of Test: Know Your Options And Differences In This Guide Created By AFC Urgent Care West Hartford



 

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is performing COVID-19 testing for employers, living facilities, nursing homes and friends and families surrounding the West Hartford area. As we continue to increase testing and offer more testing options after the holidays, many of you have questions concerning the types of COVID-19 tests offered. It can be confusing!

You may have heard of “rapid testing”, “PCR Testing” and “Antigen testing”, but are probably not aware of the differences.. For some of you, COVID-19 testing might only mean one thing. “After all, they’re the same thing right?” Nope. COVID-19 testing is not “one type of” test. Each test has unique features and some of them are not accepted as a “proof of test”.

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford created this guide explaining exactly what each test does, what they can and can’t tell you, and how accurate they are.

PCR Tests Are The “Gold Standard” For COVID-19 Testing

If you were ever asked for a “proof of test” before, a PCR test is most likely what they were asking for.

PCR tests are a type of molecular test that converts the RNA of a virus into DNA. This type of molecular test makes copies of the DNA to test against it multiple times for accuracy. PCR testing is the most common test used around the world because it’s the most accurate and reliable. 

The drawback of this testing option is that it can take a few days for lab testing to get you the results you need. As we all want to live life uninterrupted, if we want to be sure a PCR test is the way to go. Luckily, for you, Rapid Molecular testing became an option in 2021. It’s the same type of testing method, but in real time. Results are faster and on the same day, giving you peace of mind.

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford offers both Rapid Molecular testing and standard PCR testing

COVID-19 Rapid Tests Are Not All The Same

If you’ve ever heard of “results within minutes'' from a rapid test marketing claim, make sure you read the name of the test. The other rapid tests out there are called Antigen tests or “at-home rapid tests which are not the same as standard PCR testing or Rapid Molecular tests.

Antigen tests have the advantage of giving you results within minutes, but the tradeoff in speed is accuracy. These types of tests, even the at-home rapid tests are only good if you know you’ve been exposed, are experiencing symptoms and are in the early stages of infection. The drawback is, It’s really hard to time these things because you can be contagious for at least 5 days after the first day of when you start experiencing symptoms.

Antigen tests and at-home tests can also produce false negatives. If you’re asymptomatic or you’re passed the early stages of infection, an Antigen test or rapid at-home Antigen test may not be able to detect the virus. Don’t assume that you’re in the clear if you have symptoms and this test did not detect it. Chances are your viral collection sample had a small viral amount or you’ve passed the early stages of detection with this type of test.

These ‘antigen’ tests only test against the protein of the virus. It’s not like PCR tests which test the RNA and DNA of the virus in a test sample. 

If you really want to be certain, a PCR and/or a RAPID Molecular test is the way to go.

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford Can Test You For COVID-19 After The Holidays

Are you worried about the Omicron variant? At this time the COVID-19 vaccines and the booster shots are, for the most part,  keeping people with mild to no symptoms out of the hospital.

 It is highly suggested that you get vaccinated and to not skip your booster shot.

***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.

If you traveled or went to multiple gatherings over the holidays, chances are you might have been exposed. Don’t assume you’re in the clear. We have seen an uptick in cases and an increase in testing because of it. Luckily for you, AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is prepared to help with your COVID-19 testing needs. We offer the more specific and sensitive testing options 7 days a week.

PCR testing is offered 7 days a week. Results are available in 48-72 hours via our NEW patient portal. Instructions are easy to follow via email. 

We also offer Rapid Molecular testing 7 days a week giving you results in real-time. Stick around as results are on the same day and within 20 minutes. 

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