We Offer Rapid COVID Testing: Here's What You Need to Know

Testing for COVID-19 is essential to bringing the spread of this highly contagious virus under control. However, several months into the pandemic, many people are still confused about testing, especially where to get tested and what type of test they should get.

At Liberty Pediatrics, we offer both the Rapid COVID Antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests, as well as antibody tests for pediatric and adult patients. In this post, our expert and compassionate medical team at Liberty Pediatrics in Vestavia, Alabama, explain what you need to know about Rapid COVID Testing.

What is Rapid COVID testing?

Before the availability of Rapid testing, most people got the PCR, or polymerase chain reaction test, which looks for bits of the virus’s genetic material. While this test is reasonably accurate, the downside is that it is expensive and takes several days to return results. 

The Rapid test earned that name because it delivers results within minutes instead of days. The Rapid test looks for pieces of the virus’s protein. However, the results are not quite as accurate as the PCR test, although both are not 100% accurate and usually require another test to confirm negative results. As reported in The New York Times, “antigen tests work best when given a few times over a week rather than just once.”

Both tests collect samples through the nose, throat, or mouth. COVID-19 testing is covered 100% by insurance at this time. 

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

FDA guidelines recommend getting a test if you have symptoms, which include:

You should also get tested if you’ve traveled to a place with a surge in COVID cases, traveled out of the country, or been in contact with anyone with the symptoms mentioned above, or who has had a positive COVID-19 test. 

Should I get the Rapid COVID Antigen test?

If you’ve decided to get a COVID test, you may be wondering which test to get. Most people would prefer to get results sooner rather than later. Antigen tests have slightly higher false-negative results but similarly accurate positive results. In other words, if you get a positive result, you have the virus.

Because this test is not as sensitive as the PCR, it doesn’t detect early infection. A negative test may mean you don’t have enough virus present in your system at the time of the test.  

Do you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have you been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Call Liberty Pediatrics to find out more about our COVID-19 testing capabilities. All visits require a virtual or curbside screening with one of our providers, and then your test will be administered in your car. This is done to keep both our staff and patients safe during the pandemic.

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