Testing plays a significant role in the fight against COVID-19. However, it’s important to understand that there are two different types of COVID-19 tests available: a viral test and an antibody test
. A viral test shows if you currently have COVID-19. An antibody test shows if you already had it. When you experience symptoms and want to be tested, you’ll want to request a viral test.
Here are four things you should know about viral tests, based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
- Not everyone needs to be tested. The Sydney Care mobile app provides a quick and easy way to check your symptoms and find a testing facility in your area. Sydney Care is free and available on Google PlayTM and the App Store®. You can also check with your health care professional to determine whether you should be tested, based on the severity of your symptoms or if you are at a higher risk for severe illness.
- The viral test itself should only last about 10 seconds. A health care professional usually swabs the back of your nasal passage with a tool similar to a cotton swab and will send it off to be tested.
- If you are waiting for results, you need to isolate yourself. Avoid contact with other people, including those living with you. Clean and disinfect any surfaces you regularly touch. Wear a face covering when you move around your house, and have family members do the same if they interact with you. Follow your doctor's orders for resting, staying hydrated, and managing symptoms. If, at any time, you struggle to breathe, seek emergency care.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms, you should remain in self-quarantine for at least 10 days following your positive viral test. If you are symptomatic, you should stay away from others until 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, 24 hours have passed without a fever or use of fever-reducing medication, and your symptoms have improved. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional to be sure it is safe to be around family or leave the house.
Your health plan covers the cost of a viral COVID-19 test at 100%. However, if you visit your doctor, emergency room, or urgent care with symptoms, they may perform other tests to eliminate the possibility that your symptoms are being caused by something other than COVID-19, such as strep throat. You could be charged for those other tests. If you are concerned, make sure you know exactly what services you are receiving and if there will be any additional cost.
We hope sharing the latest testing tools, information, and tips helps you make informed health care decisions and stay prepared during the pandemic.