Is there a test for COVID-19?
Should I get tested for COVID-19 if I have no symptoms and I’ve been exposed?
Even if you don’t have symptoms, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure. If you need help, health department staff can provide information about the best time to get a vaccine and resources for COVID-19 testing in your area. If your test result is positive, you have COVID-19 and should isolate for 10 days.
When can COVID-19 symptoms begin to appear?
Where can I buy a COVID-19 self-test?
Self-tests can be purchased online or in pharmacies and retail stores. They are also available for free through some local health departments or Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). As of November 2021, self-tests are available to detect current infection.
Should vaccinated people get tested for COVID-19?
How long should I wait to get tested for COVID-19 after being exposed if I am fully vaccinated?
Are there any at-home tests for COVID-19?
Yes. There are now COVID-19 tests available for purchase online or in a store that can be used completely at home. At-home tests allow you to collect your own sample and test it with a system that gives you results in minutes at home.
How do COVID-19 at home tests work?
Can blood samples be used to test for COVID-19?
What are the differences between the nasal swab and saliva tests for COVID-19?
Samples for COVID-19 tests may be collected through a long swab that is inserted into the nose and sometimes down to the throat, or from a saliva sample.
The saliva test is easier to perform — spitting into a cup versus submitting to a swab — and more comfortable. Because a person can independently spit into a cup, the saliva test does not require interaction with a healthcare worker. This cuts down on the need for masks, gowns, gloves, and other protective equipment, which has been in short supply.
Either saliva or swab samples may be used for PCR tests, which detect genetic material from the coronavirus. Swab samples can also be used for antigen tests, which detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus.
Can you trust at home COVID-19 antigen tests?
How long is someone contagious after they test positive for COVID-19?
“A person with COVID-19 is likely no longer contagious after 10 days have passed since testing positive for coronavirus, and 72 hours after resolution of his or her respiratory symptoms and fever,” Dr. Septimus explains.
What is the difference between the types of tests available for COVID-19?
There are two different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests. A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others.
Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests – molecular (RT-PCR) tests that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Samples are typically collected with a nasal or throat swab, or saliva collected by spitting into a tube.
An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks after recovery.
What kind of sample is used to test for COVID-19?
Swab samples use a swab (similar to a long Q-Tip) to collect a sample from the nose or throat. The types of samples include:
•Anterior Nares (Nasal) – takes a sample from just inside the nostrils
•Mid-turbinate – takes a sample from further up inside the nose
•Nasopharyngeal – takes a sample from deep inside the nose, reaching the back of the throat
•Oropharyngeal – takes a sample from the middle part of the throat (pharynx) just beyond the mouth
Saliva samples are collected by spitting into a tube rather than using a nose or throat swab.
Blood samples are only used to test for antibodies and not to diagnose COVID-19. Venous blood samples are typically collected at a doctor’s office or clinic. Some antibody tests use blood from a finger stick.