Rapid COVID-19 Tests Are Not All The Same?! What’s The Difference?

January 7, 2022

Rapid COVID-19 Tests Are Not All The Same?! What’s The Difference? AFC Urgent Care Worcester Explains The Different Kinds Of Rapid COVID-19 Tests

Has anyone ever told you not to get a certain type of COVID-19 test over another? If yes, you’re probably wondering why the type of COVID-19 test matters. To you, a COVID-19 test might mean one universal thing, but there are actually differences in the testing methods and the testing accuracy.

By now we’ve all heard of a rapid COVID-19 test. The fact is that there are different kinds of rapid tests and some are not considered a “proof of test” for you to go to work, to travel or to attend an event. We know it’s confusing, but the type of COVID-19 rapid test you get matters. AFC Urgent Care Worcester is here to help break down the differences so you can get the right rapid test as your “proof of test” to live life uninterrupted.

Aren’t Rapid Tests Like The PCR Test?

“I thought they were the same thing, except one is faster, right?” Yes and no. 

If you’re referring to the Rapid Molecular and The PCR test, then yes. PCR tests usually have a turn around of 48-72 hours for a test result whereas the Rapid version of the PCR test can give results on the same day. Luckily for you, AFC Urgent Care Worcester offers the Rapid Molecular test making it easier for you to get the results you need in real time.

But, what exactly is a PCR test? PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction.  type of molecular test that converts the RNA of the COVID-19 virus into DNA. It creates millions of copies,  making even the slightest bit of a viral sample detectable when using this method of testing. PCR testing is considered the gold standard of all COVID-19 testing because it’s the most accurate test on the market. 

If you’ve been asked for a “proof of test” by an employer, for travel, an event or for school,  a “PCR” or “Rapid Molecular” test is what they’re asking for.

Not All Rapid Tests Are The Same

The other “Rapid” test you might have heard of is the Antigen test. This is actually a different type of COVID-19 test that you may have seen being offered at some clinics, online, and at pharmacies in the state of Massachusetts. But, don’t get confused by the word “rapid”. An Antigen test only tests for the live protein of the virus. It’s not as specific as RNA testing from a PCR test, so it’s results are less accurate and it is often less sensitive when detecting COVID-19. It can also produce false negatives. 

Antigen testing is notorious for giving results in “minutes”. The fact is, the majority of the time only works if you’re showing symptoms or have a known exposure in the early stages of infection. If you’re in the later stages of infection, an Antigen test may not detect it. At the same time,  if you’re asymptomatic, you might go undetected with this type of test. 

Rapid Antigen testing is also sold as an at-home testing kit and was very popular throughout the winter holidays. Unfortunately, Antigen testing should not be a replacement for a “proof of test”. 


Your Best Bet Is A PCR Test Or A Rapid Molecular Test

Let’s face it; you probably weren’t taking the extra COVID-19 safety precautions throughout the holidays and might have been exposed. At the same time, we’ve seen an uptick in cases over the past two months thanks to the infamous “Omicron” variant. 


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.

It’s time for you to get tested and not to drop the ball here. If you haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 or haven’t gotten your booster shot yet, then it’s time to get that too. Getting vaccinated is what’s been keeping people out of the hospitals with less severe symptoms, or no symptoms at all.

At this time, AFC Urgent Care Worcester is offering Rapid Molecular testing 7 days a week to help our friends and families in the Worcester community get reliable and accurate results.

AFC Urgent Care Worcester Is Here to Help Test You For COVID-19

Get results from your Rapid Molecular test on the same day within 20 minutes. Make sure to stick around so we can hand you your results for Rapid testing and any guidance about COVID-19 safety.

AFC Urgent Care in Worcester, Massachusetts is your go to urgent care center for your urgent care needs. There is no appointment when visiting us and we offer more than just COVID-19 tests. We also offer a variety of patient services like X-rays, Physicals for work and school, flu shots, lab work, and a whole lot more.

Always here for you 7 days a week!

**Due to unusually high demand for testing, in order to better serve our patients we have temporarily implemented a ticketing system to schedule for urgent care visits and covid-19 testing throughout the day. Tickets are distributed at the start of each day (approximately 8am) until all appointments have been exhausted for that day. Each ticket will provide information on what time to return back to the center for your appointment.  

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Call (508) 755-4010 for more information about our Worcester urgent care services.

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