Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding
COVID-19, the testing process, and general questions.

About the Tests (5)

Does the COVID-19 Test Hurt?

The nasal swab COVID-19 test is not painful, but it might be uncomfortable. Many have compared it to the feeling of water rushing up your nose. The swabbing procedure may result in your eyes watering, sneezing or coughing - this is completely normal! The technician will put a special cotton swab up one nostril and move it around for about 10 seconds. These nasal swab COVID-19 tests are called nasopharyngeal tests. It is a method for collecting a clinical test sample of nasal secretions from the back of the nose and throat.

For more information on COVID-19 nasal swab tests see this CDC article.

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Are All COVID-19 Tests Performed Via Nasal Swabs?

The COVID-19 tests that require nasal swab samples are the PCR test and Antigen test. Antibody testing consists of blood being drawn from a patient’s finger and results are shown similar to a pregnancy test.

For more information on COVID-19 nasal swab tests see this CDC article.

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What is the Accuracy of a COVID-19 PCR and Rapid Test?

Rapid COVID test accuracy differs than the standard PCR test.

PCR tests are 99% accurate. Therefore, the false positive rate of antigen testing should be close to zero...

For Antigen tests, false negative results tend to occur more often than with PCR tests. This is why Antigen tests are not favored by the FDA as a single test for active infection. Because Antigen testing is quicker and requires less complex technology to perform than molecular testing, some experts recommend repeated Antigen testing as a reasonable strategy...

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What is the Difference Between COVID-19 PCR, Antigen, and Antibody Tests?

The different types of COVID tests represent a variety of options for what you want to get tested for.

PCR tests are considered the "gold standard". PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction which is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection...

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How Long Will it Take to Receive My COVID-19 Test Results?

The COVID-19 test results timeframe is as follows:

  • PCR test results will be returned within 72-96 hours of getting tested.
  • Antigen and Antibody tests are considered rapid and take about 15 minutes to get results.

For more information on COVID-19 Tests, please visit the CDC's website.

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About COVID-19 (4)

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel respiratory coronavirus. COVID-19 poses a serious public health risk and is highly contagious. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the situation a pandemic. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC's website.

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What are Some Common Symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting

For more information on COVID-19 Symptoms, please visit the CDC's website.

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How Does COVID-19 Spread?

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, or close personal contact. It is better to refrain from touching or shaking hands. It is possible to contract COVID-19 even by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your face (specifically one’s own mouth, nose or eyes).

For more information on how COVID-19 Spreads, please visit the CDC's website.

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Can Mosquitoes or Ticks Spread COVID-19?

At this time, CDC has no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person.

For more information on how COVID-19 Spreads, please visit the CDC's FAQs page.

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Before Testing Questions (4)

Are Insurance and Identification Needed for a COVID-19 Test?

The Federal Government has approved funding to reimburse health care providers and facilities for COVID-19 testing and treatment of the uninsured. We are required to ask for your insurance information to receive reimbursement. However, you do not need to provide a driver’s license or social security number to get a test. COVID-19 testing is available, regardless of immigration status.

For more information please see this Heath Affairs article

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Is Insurance Necessary for Free PCR tests?

PCR testing is free regardless of insurance or immigration status. When you give your insurance information, it allows the laboratory to bill your insurance to get reimbursed for the cost of the tests.

For more information please see this Heath Affairs article

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Will a COVID-19 Test Protect Me From Contracting the Virus?

No. Even if you have a negative result, you should practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, and wash your hands frequently. With widespread community transmission, there is a daily risk of being infected with COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC's FAQs page.

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I Don’t Have Any Symptoms. Does That Mean I Don’t Have the Virus?

Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur they usually begin about 5 days after exposure to the virus, but may appear as soon as 2 days after exposure. In fact, asymptomatic individuals are more likely to spread the virus simply because they tend to practice less safety and isolation than those with symptoms.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC's FAQs page.

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Risk Evaluation (3)

Who is at Higher Risk of Getting Ill From COVID-19?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Consider postponing visits or trips to see grandparents, older family members, or family members with underlying medical conditions while there are high levels of transmission (or high number of COVID-19 cases) in your community.

For more information on risk levels in regards to COVID-19, please visit the Mayclinic's website.

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How Can You Protect Yourself or Others From COVID-19?

By washing your hands often and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wearing a face mask or cloth covering that covers your nose and mouth dramatically limits the exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles and may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus. Be mindful of others in public settings and maintain 6 feet of distance if possible.

For more information on protecting yourself against COVID-19, please visit the CDC's website.

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What Should You Do if You Suspect You or Someone Else Has Contracted COVID-19?

Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, it is critical that you stay home and self quarantine to limit the chances of infecting others. Most people will have mild coronavirus symptoms. There is no cure for this virus, but there are many simple ways to treat the symptoms that will help your body fight the virus and help relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:

  • Take fever or pain medications
  • Utilize a room humidifier, take a hot shower, or breathe in steam
  • Drink warm beverages
  • Cough drops or cough medicine
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get adequate rest

For more information on if you think you have COVID-19, please visit the CDC's website.

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