COVID-19 testing was widely recommended during the height of the pandemic, helping millions of people determine if they were infected so they could take appropriate steps to get better and avoid infecting others. But with the public health emergency officially at an end, many people are left wondering if they still need to be tested — and if so, under what circumstances.
At Triad Primary Care in Greensboro, North Carolina, our patients’ health is always our biggest priority. In this post, our team offers a brief overview of COVID-19 testing, along with some general guidelines to help you answer the question: Do I still need to be tested for COVID-19?
Quick facts about COVID-19 testing
COVID-19 testing looks for proteins or genetic material associated with the virus. There are two primary tests available to test for COVID-19: rapid antigen testing and polymerase chain reaction testing, also called a PCR test.
The rapid antigen test can give you results immediately. This is the basis for the test kits you can buy in a drugstore and use at home. The PCR test takes longer to process, which means it takes about 2-3 days to get your results. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to self-isolate.
While at-home testing kits are probably the most convenient form of testing for most people, you need to be sure you apply the test correctly to get accurate results. In fact, the FDA recommends “serial testing” for any negative results you get using a home test — that is, taking an additional test following a negative result to reduce the possibility of a false negative.
For the most accurate results and the greatest peace of mind, scheduling a test at our office is ideal. Our team is skilled in administering the test, and we can also determine which option — rapid antigen testing or PCR testing — is most appropriate for you.
When to get tested
Even though the public health emergency has ended, that doesn’t mean a COVID-19 infection is any less dangerous; it simply means the rate of infection has substantially decreased since the height of the pandemic. For those who contract a COVID-19 infection, the complications can be very serious — even deadly. For that reason, testing is still recommended in many instances.
Specifically, it’s a good idea to get tested if you have any symptoms associated with the virus (like coughing, respiratory issues, or fever), or if you’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus, even if you don’t currently have symptoms. It’s also fine to have a test if you think you may have been exposed to the virus, even if you don’t know for sure (for instance, sitting next to a sick person on a plane).
It’s also a good idea to get tested before visiting someone who has an increased risk of COVID-19 complications, like elderly people or those who are immunocompromised, just to avoid passing the virus on to that person unknowingly. Testing before group events, such as weddings, reunions, or before traveling or having invasive medical treatment, can also be a good idea.
COVID-19 tests aren’t harmful, and they’re not invasive. That means that even if you simply want the peace of mind that comes from being tested, using a home test or scheduling a test in our office is perfectly OK.
Play a proactive role in your health
Don’t leave your health to chance. If you think you might be infected with COVID-19 or if you want to test for another reason, call 336-800-8958 or book an appointment online with us at Triad Primary Care today.