Five Facts About COVID Rapid Tests and When to Get One

A coronavirus molecule

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10  percent of the U.S. population (as of week 45) has tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Though it is unclear exactly how contagious COVID-19 is, data suggests it spreads from close physical contact through respiratory droplets. These droplets are released when someone infected with the virus coughs, talks or sneezes.

COVID rapid tests are diagnostic tests used to detect the presence of COVID-19 antigens. A skilled medical assistant or physician administers the test by gently but thoroughly swabbing the throat or both nasal cavities. COVID rapid tests can return results in 1-2 business days, as opposed to the 3-5 day estimated wait for most nasal swab tests. This also allows for faster contact tracing and self-isolation to help stop the spread of the virus.

Five facts about COVID rapid tests

Here are five things you need to know about COVID rapid tests:

  1. COVID rapid tests are approved for use on symptomatic persons within the first five to twelve days of symptom onset.
  2. Rapid antigen tests provide the most accurate results when a person is in the early stages of infection with SARS-CoV-2, when the viral load is generally the highest.
  3. COVID rapid tests are not yet approved by the FDA. However, they can make tests available under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) when no other tests are available.
  4. Anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should contact a medical professional and request a test right away. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  5. Early detection can accelerate care, reduce viral spread and help you recover more quickly.

When do you need a rapid COVD test?

Not everyone needs to be tested. However here are a few scenarios in which COVID rapid testing is highly recommended:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You have had close contact (within six feet) with someone confirmed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more.
  • You have been asked or referred to get testing by your healthcare provider, local or state health department.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, contact Coastal Urgent Care of Ruston to reserve your spot in line. If you do get tested for SARS-CoV-2, it’s important to self-isolate at home until you receive your test results and follow the advice of your healthcare provider or public health professional.