Before we jump into testing, it is important to state that individuals can be “asymptomatic carriers” of COVID-19. This means that the individual has no symptoms of COVID-19 but still can spread it to other people.
Surgical masks are worn to help prevent the spread of the virus TO other people. This means that the person wearing the mask is wearing it in case they are asymptomatic. These masks are worn by the public and workers alike to decrease community viral spread.
N95 masks are worn to help prevent contracting the disease FROM others. These masks are generally used by medical personnel coming in contact with infected persons.
Nasal Swab Test
The Nasal Swab Test is an antigen test that will reveal if the individual is currently infected with COVID-19. Once the infection is gone, the antigen disappears. The PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is sent to LabCorp to detect the actual virus. The turnaround time is 3-5 days. It is recommended that individuals wait 5-7 days after exposure before being tested because it takes time for the virus to multiply and be detectable. The virus remains present and detectable for 14 days and sometimes longer if the individual is asymptomatic. This test is covered by most insurance. If it is self-pay, the cost is $120 plus an $85 urgent care fee.
The Antibody Test is a blood test that does NOT require registration and is not paid for by insurance. The cost of this test is $75 per test and it is used for the detection of antibodies against the virus. Antibodies develop 1-2 weeks after infection.
IgM – rises around 7 days after exposure, remains elevated for 2 weeks.
IgG – rises around 14 days after exposure and remains elevated for months.
The antibody test is 88% sensitive which means if the patient has antibodies, it will detect them 88% of the time. If a positive antibody test is obtained, a physician at QCA will counsel the patient concerning the test results.