COVID antigen and PCR tests are appropriate for people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has been infected. Coronavirus symptoms can vary, and some people who have contracted the virus experience no symptoms at all.
For those who have noticeable symptoms, they may include:
- Sore Throat
- Body aches
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Shortness of breath
Both the antigen and PCR tests are designed to detect active COVID-19 infections, and it’s recommended to test 3-5 days after a known exposure or if you are experiencing symptoms. Most testing platforms involve collecting a nasopharyngeal swab, which means a trained medical professional will insert a long swab into one or both of your nostrils to collect a sample for analysis.
Rapid tests offers a fast turnaround time—often providing results within 15 minutes to 2 hours while.
Send out tests provide results in 2-3 days
The rapid antigen test identifies the presence of SARS-CoV-2 by detecting protein fragments that accompany coronavirus, and it doesn’t require lab analysis. The PCR test, on the other hand, detects the genetic material that’s specific to SARS-CoV-2, and the sample must be processed on specialized equipment.
Typically, during times of large demand for testing, only those patients with active COVID-19 symptoms and/or at high risk for hospitalization will be offered a rapid test due to limited testing supplies.