CareMount Medical is now offering both antibody and RNA nasal swab testing for COVID-19 in many of our locations. At this time, testing is the most important thing we can do to contain and prevent the spread of the virus.
RNA testing provides evidence that the virus is presently in your body. This is a swab test that is done through your nasal cavity. This test may tell you that an illness is due to COVID-19, 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. Based on the result of your test, you may need to be in isolation and get in contact with people you’ve been in touch with so they can be quarantined too, as a precaution.
The second test we offer is the antibody test. This test requires blood drawing. Antibody testing 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 that you are immune to the virus. You cannot use this test to diagnose a new infection with COVID-19, or to get out of quarantine. You will likely need RNA testing to end quarantine or isolation. Rest assured, CareMount’s antibody testing is performed on a highly reliable analyzer. We do not use the 5-minute kits that provide questionable results.
We want to emphasize that you must be careful with the antibody 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.
The true advantage of both these diagnostic tests (RNA and antibody) 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.
All open CareMount Urgent Care locations are performing the RNA and antibody testing. You do not need an appointment. You can simply walk-in to any CareMount urgent and be tested. 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.
Alternatively, you can schedule a visit with your primary care provider to arrange testing for either the antibody or RNA test. To determine which test is right for you, please call your CareMount provider for a visit. He/she will discuss with you the two tests, which one is appropriate for your symptoms (if you have any) and review your results.
RNA results are returned within 48-72 hours and will be reported to you. All results will be communicated by your provider’s office to discuss what the results mean and any next steps.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
• Chills—with or without shaking
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle pain or being very achy
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• New loss of taste or smell
If you develop any of these for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
• Trouble breathing
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion or inability to arouse
• Bluish lips or face