COVID-19 testing has come a long way since the start of the pandemic in 2019.
In just a couple of months, experts understood this virus enough to learn how to identify its existence with very simple tests.
With the availability of multiple testing options, many questions have been raised from time to time about the accuracy of testing as well as when it’s required to get a covid-19 test done.
To help safeguard yourself and your loved ones from the coronavirus, be certain that you know if it’s right to get examined for COVID.
We are here to share the experience that we have got from providing Covid antigen tests in Nairobi and answers some frequently asked questions associated with COVID-19 testing:
What are the different types of COVID Tests that are available?
The types of COVID Tests are split into two different classes — diagnostic tests and antibody tests.
There are just two types of diagnostic tests that are used to test COVID-19 – PCR Testing and antigen testing:
PCR testing (also referred to as RNA tests).
In this testing method for COVID-19, mucus is swabbed from the back of your throat or from deep inside your nose.
After that, the swab is sent to a lab, where it is examined for the most distinctive genetic material of the virus.
PCR tests are the most accurate way to check for COVID-19. But since the test needs to be evaluated in a lab, it takes time to deliver your test results back.
Antigen testing (also known as rapid testing).
Antigen testing entails the same swabbing process as PCR testing, but there’s no need for a sample to be sent off to a lab or lab equipment.
This means you can get your test results quickly. Rapid testing is the sort of test you’ll get to get quick results or at a drive-thru test site.
While the Antigen test is very accurate in examining COVID antigens, it may take some time for COVID19 antigens to be found in your body.
This means sometimes it’s possible to have an infection of COVID nevertheless get a negative result for the rapid antigen test.
To know the drawbacks of COVID 19 testing is also crucial. For instance, if you come in contact with somebody whose test results are positive for COVID and choose to get a rapid test done a couple of days later, it may come negative since the COVID antigens have not shown up in your body nonetheless.
After some days, you might experience symptoms of COVID and test positive.
The risk is that you are likely to expose others to the virus while you think you are clear of the virus based on your negative antigen test report.
Antibody testing is the type of blood test that is done to find the COVID antibodies in your bloodstream.
A positive report of an Antigen test means that you had contracted COVID at some point in past, whether you were aware or not, and your immune system has developed antibodies to fight against the virus.
When to get a COVID test?
There’s a lot of confusion among the general public about when to get tested for COVID-19, but to be clear, every situation is different.
It totally depends upon your individual situation and symptoms.
If you are exposed to a person with COVID
If you were in close contact with someone who tested positive, you should do the following:
Handle the situation in a way that you also have the virus in your system. For example, do not go out in public places for at least 10-14 days.
The whole period of the quarantine will depend upon when you get examined and local health guidelines. Keep yourself away from others within your house.
Monitor your symptoms.
Symptoms for COVID-19 will not appear right after you come in contact with an infected person.
It might take a couple of days for the symptoms to get developed in your body. When you have indications of COVID, think about getting tested.
Speak with your doctor.
Your primary care doctor can suggest to you better whether you need to get tested based on your particular scenario.
If You Have Symptoms of COVID
If you start experiencing coronavirus symptoms after being exposed to someone who tested positive, get your COVID-19 test done.
In case you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but are not aware whether you got exposed to someone with COVID, talk to your doctor about your symptoms to know if you need to get tested.
Even though COVID testing Can provide reassurance to individuals who were exposed to a person with COVID or are experiencing symptoms, it should not be misused. It is not ideal to get tested in other cases, like:
Every single time you leave the house.
There’s a quite low threat of getting infected at the supermarket or picking up your food from the restaurant. Follow the best practices to handle deliveries and food that you are bringing to your house.
Using negative test report as an excuse.
A negative test result does not mean it’s fine to go to parties, assemble in large groups, travel, or avoid social distancing and wearing masks.
You didn’t come in contact with an infected person.
Do not get a test simply to have a test.
With the increase in the number of infected people n the country, its necessary to test symptomatic patients.
When there is little to no possibility of you exposed to an individual who has the virus, then conserve the testing for people who have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms.
What exactly do my COVID-19 test results mean?
As we get to see a rise in the positive COVID-19 cases, testing sites are uncommonly busy.
Unfortunately, this usually means that we will see delays in receiving test results.
If you’re awaiting test results, act like you’re positive for COVID-19.
If your COVID-19 test is positive, then it means you have a COVID infection, and you do not require getting any other test done.
All diagnostic tests are accurate at tracing the virus, and you need to isolate yourself from other people until your doctor permits you.
For those who have COVID-19 symptoms and got a negative test report for your rapid antigen test.
Your doctor may ask you to get your PCR test done to verify the results.
And in the meantime you need to get isolated while testing determines if you have COVID-19.
In case you need to travel abroad and need a COVID-19 test report to travel, get your antigen test done at Nairobi Airport.