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Demystifying COVID-19 Tests

The word “test,” perhaps associated in our youth as something to worry about as a school exam would approach, has taken on new and even welcomed meaning as COVID-19 testing has become more widespread and significant. Though we still may feel the pang of worry, we may actually look forward to this kind of test!

Confusion Surrounding Testing
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing broadly available may be the quintessential tool for lifting social distancing restrictions. However, you may be confused about what kind of COVID-19 test to seek, and the imminent benefits of each test. Your AssociatesMD physicians want to help you lift the mysterious veil of confusion – helping you to understand the tests available so you can decide which test or tests are right for you today. Basically – one tests for current infection (viral) and the other tests for a past infection (antibody). 

Viral Test versus Antibody Test
Two distinct kinds of tests are available for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19: tests for current infection (viral tests) and tests for past infection (antibody tests). 

  • A viral (molecular or swab) test tells you if you have a current infection.
  • An antibody (serology or blood) test tells you if you had a previous infection.

 
A Viral test checks samples from your respiratory system by swabbing the inside of the nose – nasal swab testing – to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. AssociatesMD offers viral testing at our designated drive-thru testing center. A health care associate conducts a nasal swab test while you stay in your car. The specimen is then sent to a laboratory to analyze.

Viral Test – What to Expect
A Viral test is needed to identify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. This test uses a long swab to collect material, including physical pieces of coronavirus, from the back of the nose where it meets the throat. A positive result indicates that viral genetic material is present, but it does not indicate that bacterial or other infections also are present. A negative result indicates that the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease was not found. It is possible to have a very low level of the virus in the body with a negative test result. 

Antibody Test – What to Expect.
An Antibody test is a blood test designed to detect antibodies (immunoglobulins, IgG and IgM) against the coronavirus that causes the disease called COVID-19. A positive test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. They are found in the liquid part of blood specimens, which is called serum or plasma, depending on the presence of clotting factors.

Caution Ahead –False Sense of Security?
An Antibody test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after infection to make antibodies. This means you could still spread the disease. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may never develop antibodies. It is not known yet if having antibodies to the virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last. These tests results alone do not confirm if you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. 

I would like a viral (nasal swab test) – what’s my next steps?
AssociatesMD offers viral testing at our designated drive-thru testing center. Here is a primer on steps to get you on the road for testing at the designated AssociatesMD testing center in Cyprus Creek.

  • Call us at 1-844-954-3627.
  • You will need a prescription for the drive-thru test.
  • We will set up an appointment for you for a telemedicine visit.
  • You will be given an appointment time for nasal swab testing, Monday-Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for your drive-thru testing center, Cyprus Creek, 2122 NW 62nd St., Fort Lauderdale 33309.
  • Test results should be available within 48-72 hours.

 
Your safety. Our commitment to YOU never waivers!
Your AssociatesMD physicians want you to take every measure to ensure your health and safety. Your trusted physicians want to remind you that even after you get tested, you are encouraged to adhere to social distancing standards and maintain necessary hygiene: avoid close contact, if you are at-risk, medically vulnerable, avoid going out in public, and continue to wear face masks or other facial coverings. 

Let us know how we may help you. Call us to connect at 1-844-954-3627. For more than 20 years, AssociatesMD medical group’s multi-specialty physicians have cared for patients in locations throughout Broward with unwavering compassion and uncompromised dedication to excellence. AssociatesMD, now provides telemedicine -  virtual care for easy, personalized, cost effective, and timely access to quality healthcare --  AssociatesMD TeleMed™

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