COVID-19 testing

National Delay – Coronavirus Results May Take Up to 2 Weeks

Due to the worsening of COVID-19 outbreaks across the country, demand for COVID testing has increased dramatically. This has resulted in severe limitations on testing materials. CareMount Medical can and will continue to test patients, but results may take as long as 2 weeks to come back. Results are not available immediately so plan accordingly. For example, if you require testing before a vacation please plan ahead.

 

What tests does CareMount offer for COVID-19?

CareMount Medical offers the Antibody test (blood draw) and the RNA test (nasal swab) for COVID-19. At this time, testing is one of most important things we can do to contain and prevent the spread of the virus. The true advantage of both of these diagnostic tests is that we will try to use them to break the chain of transmission and have a clearer picture of the spread of the virus.

Antibody test (blood draw)

This test tells you whether you have been exposed to the virus, and whether your body has reacted to the virus. Unfortunately, it does not tell you if you are immune to the virus. You cannot use this test to get out of quarantine. If this antibody test shows that you may have a recent infection, you will need the RNA nasal swab to confirm that.  Rest assured, CareMount’s antibody testing is performed on an FDA approved, highly reliable analyzer. We do not use the 5-minute kits that provide questionable results. More FAQ’s about the Antibody Test can be found here.

RNA  test (nasal swab)

This test starts with a soft swab that is rubbed in both of your nostrils.  It does not require that the swab be plunged deeply into your nose.  For everyone’s safety, you may be asked to rub the swab around your own nose. This test provides evidence that the virus is presently in your body.  It may tell you that you have an active COVID-19 infection, or that the virus is being carried in your body. It may also mean that you are infectious. RNA tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen (parts of the virus), rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies.

If your RNA test is positive, you will need to be in isolation.   Anyone in close contact with you will be required to be in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution.  Your local Department of Health will be in contact with you. If this is not your first positive RNA test (you have tested positive before), you may not require isolation.  Discuss that with your provider.

The COVID-19 RNA nasal swab test is sometimes referred to as a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).  Not all highly accurate COVID-19 RNA tests are PCR’s.  PCR is one type of nucleic acid amplification technique (NAAT).  CareMount, our partner lab Quest, and several local hospitals perform RNA testing that is NAAT, but not PCR.  These analyzers are equal to PCR in accuracy, and are FDA approved.

Some camps and schools are under the mistaken belief that the only reliable RNA test is PCR.  All reliable COVID-19 RNA nasal swab testing is NAAT, and types of NAAT include PCR.  You may need to inform your school/camp of this. More FAQ’s about the RNA test (nasal swab) can be found here.

Where can I get the tests done?

RNA nasal swab testing and antibody testing can be done in 2 ways:
In office visit – schedule your appointment with your CareMount primary care provider.
or
Visit any open CareMount Urgent Care location (no appointment necessary at Urgent Care).  You may be asked to wait in your car when you arrive to maintain proper distancing and safety. You will be evaluated by an urgent care provider to review which test is best for you, and to answer any of your questions about the testing.

To determine which test is right for you, please call your CareMount provider or visit our Urgent Care.  We will discuss which testing is appropriate for you and review your results. Please note that at this time, we cannot accept orders from non-CareMount doctors for the Viral RNA nasal swab testing in our urgent care locations or labs. You are welcome to come to our labs with your non-CareMount doctor’s prescription for antibody testing.

In the Labs are sick and well patients separated for COVID testing?

Yes. Our screening process is such that if a patient presents with symptoms of COVID, they will be tested in an area away from our usual lab space. This allows us to keep sick and well patients separated.

Who performs the test?

The Antibody test (blood draw) is performed by our CareMount staff. For the RNA test (nasal swab) your provider will determine if they will perform the test or you will be asked to perform the nasal swabbing yourself, under the supervision of staff.

Will I be able to get the test done outside the office building?

Certain CareMount locations have outdoor and even in-car testing available.  Contact your provider to discuss.

When will I get results?

The RNA nasal swab test is unfortunately a limited resource.  The outbreaks seen in many states are severely impacting how long it takes to get results.  It generally takes less than one week to get results, but can at times take up to 14 days.  All results will be communicated by your provider’s office to discuss what the results mean and any next steps.  Please note that by law, all results are reported to the NYS Department of Health, or the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Antibody test (blood draw) is readily available.  Results should be available within 36 hours of your blood draw.  We want to emphasize that you must be careful with the antibody test results. Having antibodies does not mean that you can stop socially isolating or wearing masks, and it does not mean that you can stop taking precautions against spreading or getting the virus. We do not know if having antibodies will prevent you from getting COVID-19 again. The good news is that having antibodies to the COVID-19 virus may make you eligible to donate plasma.

How much does it cost to get tested?

COVID-19 Antibody and RNA testing is covered by most insurances.

If you do not have insurance the following charges apply:

COVID-19 Total Antibody (blood draw)- Charge $55 per test

If your Total Antibody is positive, you will get a second test called an IgG.  That will also be a $55 charge

COVID- 19 RNA test (nasal swab) – Charge $100

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.

It is likely that more than half of all people infected had no symptoms at all. Symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

• Fever
• Chills—with or without shaking
• Cough
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle pain or being very achy
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• New loss of taste or smell
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea

If you develop any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately:

• Trouble breathing
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion or inability to arouse
• Bluish lips or face