If you are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated, trying to navigate the various testing requirements can feel overwhelming. How often will you need to get tested? How do you know you’re taking the right kind of test? Keep reading to learn more about PCR testing in everyday life to find the solutions you need.
Understanding the different types of Covid-19 tests
Testing for Covid-19 has advanced rapidly throughout the pandemic, leaving some to wonder why experts are now recommending PCR testing over rapid antigen testing. What’s the difference?
Rapid antigen tests detect the proteins on the surface of Covid-19 virus cells. PCR tests, on the other hand, detect the genetic material (RNA) of the virus itself. This means PCR tests are more sensitive than antigen tests and can catch infections an antigen test may miss. This is most likely to occur when testing in the earliest and latest stages of infection, when the amount of Covid-19 cells present in the body would be at their lowest.
There are a few types of PCR tests; understanding the differences between them is important so you can choose the best option for PCR testing in everyday life.
- RT-PCR tests are regarded as the “gold standard” in Covid-19 detection. Samples are collected via nasal or throat swab and processed in a lab. The turnaround time for results is typically 24-72 hours.
- Rapid PCR tests use the same testing method as the RT-PCR, but can return results in 15-45 minutes. They offer a similar accuracy as the RT-PCR. A nasal or throat swab sample is processed using portable lab equipment.
- Qualitative PCR tests are a bit different – they aren’t intended to diagnose Covid-19, but rather measure the volume of Covid-19 cells in the body of someone who is infected. This test would be prescribed by a medical professional, and should not be relied on for PCR testing in everyday life.
- Cepheid 4-plex tests are diagnostic tests that check for four (4) different viruses – Covid-19, Flu strains A and B, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This test was developed to avoid the need for multiple tests for someone with flu-like symptoms. This test is only available from certain healthcare providers and is not necessary for PCR testing on a regular basis.
Why is regular PCR testing for everyday life necessary?
Mandates were issued in September of this year that require employers of 100 or more people to require vaccinations or weekly testing of employees. Schools, healthcare providers, and other public services are among these.
Private entities across multiple industries are also requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test to travel, enter events, dine at restaurants, and more. As we enter winter and the holiday season, preventing the spread of Covid-19 will be essential to saving lives.
Regular tests can help you know if you’ve been infected and promptly take steps to protect your friends, family, and coworkers.
How can I get PCR testing?
PCR testing for everyday life is available in DIY test kits or from healthcare providers.
DIY PCR testing kits contain the materials necessary to self-collect a sample and mail it into a lab. Once the kit is received, results will be available online after the results have been processed.
DIY kits may not be a reliable method for regular testing for a number of reasons. In September, the CDC issued an advisory warning people about shortages of home test kits.
Additionally, user-error in the collection or storage of samples can impact the results of a test. If you need to provide test results to an employer weekly, delays in mail service could impact your ability to get results when you need them.
Healthcare providers and testing clinics
Healthcare providers and testing clinics offer access to PCR testing. If you want a rapid PCR test, you should check ahead to make sure they offer rapid testing. When you use a healthcare provider to access PCR testing, a trained medical expert will perform a nasal or throat swab to collect a sample. Depending on your chosen test, they will either prepare the sample to be sent to a lab or use portable lab equipment to process results onsite.
If you already have a busy schedule, having to attend weekly appointments can feel like a real burden. Spending lots of time in waiting rooms to be seen to get tested can also pose a risk of exposure to Covid-19 while in the process of getting tested.
Mobile Covid-19 testing services
Mobile Covid-19 testing services will send a healthcare professional to your home or workplace to administer a PCR test. As with any other healthcare provider, they will collect the sample via nasal or throat swab and either process it onsite or prepare it for lab processing.
Let Drip Hydration Take The Hassle Out Of PCR Testing For Everyday Life
Instead of sweating the new mandate requirements, let Drip Hydration guide you through the requirements of The New Normal. You can reserve appointments over the phone or online on a one-time or ongoing basis for one of our Registered Nurses to come to your home and administer an RT-PCR or rapid PCR test. We will ensure all samples are properly collected, stored, and processed so you can trust the results. If you test positive, our team can advise you on what to do next to stay healthy and keep your loved ones safe.
Have a busy family with more than one person who needs PCR testing? Take advantage of our progressive group discounts and get the whole household tested at home at once, regardless of age. Drip Hydration is ready to answer your questions and make life in The New Normal a little easier. Give us a call or click the button below to make an appointment today!