Since COVID-19 was discovered in late 2019, there has been a huge emphasis on finding and developing tests and solutions to best combat the virus. The complexity of Covid-19 and the lack of previous knowledge of the virus has made it difficult to find solutions as fast as we may have hoped. However, as we sit here now in early 2021, the science behind the virus has evolved tremendously and testing options have been greatly expanded.
This expansion has allowed us at NextCare to offer PCR specimen collection, Antibody testing, and most importantly COVID-19 Rapid molecular testing. Our rapid test is crucial in the battle against COVID-19, in both its quick turnaround time and effectiveness. In this Health Journal, we will dive deep into what rapid testing is, how it works and some of the benefits it provides.
What is Rapid Testing? What are the benefits?
A COVID-19 rapid molecular test works in a similar fashion to the normal PCR testing you may have previously experienced at NextCare or other testing facilities. Although the process is similar, instead of having to have your sample sent out to be tested by an independent lab, our Rapid Test can be conducted in-house. For our test, a swab is used to collect a sample from both sides of the patient’s nose and then is ready to be tested. After collecting the sample, our provider will have your sample tested in-house and you may have your results as soon as 15 minutes.
The expedited turnaround time of these tests allow for a variety of benefits, including knowing the same day whether or not you are COVID positive. Being able to expedite the usual 24-72 hour wait time allows our patients to possibly get back to work sooner or be able to get back to the things they enjoy without having to worry about the unknown.
This knowledge and the efficiency of the test also allows for our healthcare professionals to make the most appropriate and efficient treatment and infection control decisions, if a patient is positive. In addition, if positive, the patient will also be able to more quickly contact others they may have exposed and, by quickly self-isolating, reducing the spread to others around them.
Now that we have a better understanding of what rapid testing is and how it works, you may still have a few questions about NextCare’s other COVID testing options. Next we dive into what else we offer and how those testing options compare to rapid testing.
NextCare’s testing options:
PCR Testing: The PCR test is a form of molecular testing that is done through a sample collection, either in the nose or throat, at one of our NextCare clinics. The specimen is then sent to a local lab vendor for PCR testing. In the detection process, a series of chemical reactions copy the viral genetic material. If you’re not infected, there won’t be any viral material to be copied. This test will let a patient know if they are currently infected and this information is used to isolate those that are, so treatment can be provided and other potential cases can be tracked. At NextCare, for the standard PCR testing, a specimen is collected in-house and then sent out to an independent lab. The average turnaround time for this test is 24-72 hours.
Antibody Testing: For Antibody testing, a sample is collected through a blood draw and sent to a local lab vendor to be tested. The specific test measures whether these antibodies bind to novel coronavirus which, if positive, lets the patient know if they have possibly been infected in the past. This test is helpful in identifying people who may have immunity to the virus and whose antibodies may be used to treat COVID-19 patients. The antibody test provides the patient with a great deal of helpful information, but with this test being fairly new, it still leaves a few questions. It is unclear if antibodies provide protection, how long immunity lasts or what level and kind of antibody provides protection.
NextCare is dedicated to offering the most up-to-date testing options available for COVID-19 and wants our patients to know we are here for all of their testing needs. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms or may have possibly been exposed, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit.
Our Online Check-In system is here to make your visit as quick and efficient as possible. You can book a time online at one of our 145 clinics nationwide and receive text messages to notify you when your room is ready. This convenient process allows you to skip the waiting room altogether and lessen your overall time in the clinic. To find a clinic near you or to book an appointment, click here.