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COVID-19 and Travel: When to Get a COVID PCR Test

covid-19 and travel: covid PCR test

Although many areas have opened up their COVID-19 restrictions, many others continue to have substantial requirements in place. Before traveling, it can be wise to evaluate your individual travel plans, location, and requirements. To determine which of the available COVID-19 tests you should utilize, consider the following travel recommendations. 

Current COVID-19 Travel Recommendations

There are three tests currently being used for COVID-19 testing: PCR, antigen, and antibody tests. Before utilizing one of these tests, you must evaluate your travel plans and the restrictions that correspond to the area to which you are traveling

State Recommendations

Within the United States, restrictions vary from state to state. Some states, like Tennessee, are largely open (though some counties might continue to have different restrictions and mandates). Others, like California, continue to experience a seesaw-like series of recommendations and requirements that are alternatively lifted and reinstated. Before leaving the state, be sure to check with the state to which you are heading and any states you are passing through to determine what precautions and requirements you are required to take. 

Federal Recommendations

Within the United States, travel is largely encouraged, provided that appropriate measures are taken. As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), travelers are still encouraged to wash their hands frequently and socially distance whenever possible or appropriate. Masks may still be encouraged in crowded or enclosed areas. 

International Suggestions

Like state-to-state travel, international travel is largely subjective. Some areas are welcoming visitors with proof of a negative coronavirus test, such as Brazil. Others are refusing outside visitors, such as the U.K. Still others are allowing travel with proof of a negative COVID-19 test, with exemptions for the fully vaccinated, including Ecuador. 

COVID-19 Tests and Travel

Vaccination efforts are well underway in most areas, but COVID travel testing is a more common requirement than full vaccination. Travel restrictions are concerned primarily about continuing to limit the spread, and a negative COVID-19 test result from a trusted testing site is all that is required to travel to many areas. 

Are Antibody or PCR Tests Best for Traveling?

Antibody tests can be useful for getting back to work or going to events, but the type of test most commonly required or encouraged for travel is RT-PCR testing. This viral test evaluates the presence (or lack) of an active COVID-19 infection, rather than indicating recovery from COVID-19. 

This is the standard test to fly internationally or from state to state

When to Get a PCR Test

PCR tests may be required for far more than traveling. PCR tests are currently the gold standard for COVID-19 testing overall, and the gold standard for travel. Even if you have the COVID-19 vaccine, some areas will require testing to determine that you do not test positive for the virus. 

It is also wise to get a PCR test when you are interested in attending an event, working in the healthcare field, or when you have symptoms of a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. PCR tests can come back in less than 72 hours. Our office provides rapid PCR testing that produces results within one hour. PCR tests do not require a great deal of money or time to receive. 

PCR Testing in Memphis and Germantown

Whether your travel plans involve entry requirements, or you simply want to have the option of traveling from one place to another, PCR testing is a valuable asset. Rapid Care, an urgent care facility, offers rapid PCR testing in Memphis and Germantown, TN

Get your test today, and go somewhere new tomorrow.

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Should I Get a Rapid COVID-19 Antibody Test?

Should I Get a Rapid COVID-19 Antibody Test?

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing was at the forefront of the minds of health care workers and governments alike. While testing may seem straightforward, many different tests, including PCR tests and antibody tests, can be used to determine whether COVID-19 is or has been present.

What exactly is antibody testing? 

Antibody Testing: The Basics

Antibody tests are used to determine the likelihood of having had the COVID-19 virus previously. Unlike standard tests, which measure the presence of an active or current infection, these diagnostic tests are instead used to identify a past infection. To fully understand the process of these COVID-19 tests, you must first have a basic understanding of antibodies and the role they have played in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What Are Antibodies?

You may be most familiar with the word “antibody” when it is used in conjunction with “antibiotics.” However, antibodies are actually agents deployed by the body to target disease and illness brought about by foreign invaders. Antibodies are small proteins used to identify invaders. 

Antibodies are sent to attach to the virus, bacteria, or entity in question (a virus, for instance), which allows the body to complete a process called phagocytosis, or the destruction of a harmful or (perceived) foreign entity. 

What Do Antibody Tests Measure?

Antibody tests measure the presence of antibodies in your blood. When you have been infected by a virus, bacteria, or another harmful entity, your body produces antibodies specific to that entity. If you have antibodies in your blood, test results can determine the type of infection present in the body–including a COVID-19 infection. Rapid tests may be necessary or useful for specific tasks and situations. 

3 Reasons to Get a Rapid Antibody Test

It may seem pertinent to focus entirely on current infections, but there are many reasons to seek out an antibody test in the wake of COVID-19. Work requirements, community requirements, and coronavirus contact can all necessitate a rapid antibody test. 

Work Requirements

Your workplace may request that you show you are not currently infected with COVID-19 or that you have been infected with the virus in the past. Some workplaces suggest antibody tests following a COVID-19 exposure, while others might request these tests following your own infection. Antibody tests can be useful to help you get back to work more quickly or to put your coworkers’ or supervisors’ minds at ease. 

Community Requirements

The exact requirements for gathering and hosting events vary from city to city, county to county, and state to state. Antibody testing can be a useful way to make sure you can attend a specific event or engage in a particular pastime. 

Private concert venues, restaurants, and more might encourage you to demonstrate that you are not currently infected with the virus or that you have successfully recovered from the virus in the past

Coronavirus Contact

Antibody testing can also be useful if you have recently come into contact with COVID-19. Antibody tests can give you some peace of mind following contact with the virus. A positive test can let you know that you have already successfully recovered from the virus, while a negative test can tell you that the virus has not been present in your body. Antibody tests can also be useful in that they can demonstrate to others that you have an immune response already in place, should you come into contact with the virus inadvertently. 

Why to Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test

From work to community events, there are plenty of reasons to seek out a 15-minute rapid antibody test. Rapid tests allow you to receive your results in less than 24 hours after visiting the testing site and can give you (and your boss or event coordinator) more peace of mind as you go about getting back to work and engaging with your community.

If you need a rapid antibody test in Memphis or Germantown, schedule your appointment today!

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Why Accuracy and Professionalism Matter in COVID-19 Testing

why accuracy and professionalism matter in covid-19 testing

COVID-19 testing has undergone a quick evolution since its inception last year. While tests were once in short supply, most major hospitals and health clinics possess at least one form of COVID-19 testing

Expertise and COVID-19 Testing

Although there are home tests available to detect COVID-19, these tests are not administered with the same level of expertise found in professional clinics and may be at greater risk of producing a false result. When going in for a COVID-19 test, you want to make sure you are receiving the most accurate information possible. At Rapid Care, we provide that level of expertise

Conducting Tests Correctly

The procedure for conducting COVID-19 tests involves either gathering a blood sample, collecting a mucus sample, or swabbing the nose. The availability of different tests will determine the type of gathering technique that is used. While companies have put together home kits for convenience, these tests do not guarantee that tests will be conducted correctly. 

Appropriately Handling Materials

Testing materials can easily be contaminated and mismanaged, which can also lead to false positives or negatives. Our testing site is managed by medical professionals to make sure that test results are accurate and are not at risk of being in close contact with potentially contaminated or otherwise damaging materials. 

Supplying All Necessary Information

Before conducting a test, our staff will make sure that community testing is conducted in accordance with local statutes and suggestions. We will evaluate the presence of symptoms of COVID-19 prior to tests, and we will walk patients through the testing process

At our practice, we provide necessary materials and information for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and will also take patients through the next steps should they test negative despite the presence of symptoms

How Accurate Are COVID-19 Tests?

Although the health care response to the coronavirus has improved in vast strides in the past year, it should be noted that testing is still subject to the same issues common to other medical tests. Some testing inaccuracies are due to user error, but some are also due to limitations in technology. To determine which test is best for you, we will look at the three types of tests currently in use.

Rapid Testing

Rapid testing was developed as a way to preserve public health. Rapid testing allowed people to receive an immediate answer for their symptoms, and more effectively passed through the population that needed to quarantine, versus the population that did not. Nevertheless, the quick production of these tests and the rapid technology do have their limits, and rapid tests are among those most likely to produce a false positive or negative. 

Long-Form Diagnostic Testing

Long-form diagnostic testing is also called PCR testing, or Polymerase Chain Reaction testing. This test has become the preferred avenue for most health practitioners, as it offers the most reliable results. We now offer the Rapid RT-PCR test which produces results within an hour!  This test will determine whether you are ill at the time of the test, though it can also detect remaining vestiges of the virus after an infection has concluded. 

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing is conducted to determine an individual’s immunity to the virus causing COVID-19. Antibody testing is most often used not to identify an active infection, but to identify the presence of a previous infection with the virus. 

The Rapid Care Difference

At Rapid Care, we value accuracy and professionalism, and we bring those values to our COVID-19 testing sites in Memphis and Germantown. Reach out to our office today for a COVID-19 testing experience that puts you at ease and in good hands.

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What to Expect from a Rapid COVID-19 Test

what to expect from a Rapid COVID-19 test

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting tested for the virus has become part of our new normal. Whether you are sick, planning to travel, or headed back to school or work, you may need a COVID-19 test.

Here, we will break down what to expect from the Rapid COVID-19 test, the other types of tests available, when to be tested, and how long it takes to get your results.

The COVID-19 Testing Process

Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing. Every testing location has different policies. At Rapid Care, once you arrive for your appointment, a nurse administers your COVID test curbside while you remain in your car. Your results may be available while you wait or return to you within a few days.

Continue reading to determine if you need to be tested and which test to choose.

Who Should Be Tested

Coronavirus testing is not just for sick patients. Those who have come into contact with infected individuals or who need to show that they do not have an active infection can be tested too. According to the CDC, COVID tests are available for patients who:

  • Are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status or previous infection
  • Have been in close contact with a COVID positive patient
  • Need test results for work or travel
  • Have had a physician or medical professional recommend testing

Even if they have been in contact with a COVID-positive patient, individuals who have been vaccinated are not required to be tested.

COVID-19 Tests: Which Do You Need?

There are different COVID tests available. There are diagnostic tests, which check for active COVID-19 infections, and antibody tests, which detect the history of infection. Each has a different testing method, processing time for results, and accuracy level. 

Rapid Antigen

The Rapid Antigen test is a diagnostic tool that checks for an active infection. It is performed using a nasal or throat swab. Test results are available in approximately 10 minutes.

While generally accurate, false negatives are possible with this test. The Rapid Antigen test is most accurate for patients who are showing symptoms. False negatives are more common in patients who may test too soon after coming in contact with the virus or who do not have symptoms. 

Rapid Antibody

The Rapid Antibody test checks for a previous infection. Since it takes your body up to 3 weeks to create antibodies, this test cannot detect a current infection.

Antibody tests are done through a finger prick with results in 15 minutes.

Molecular Tests

There are two molecular tests, the RT-LAMP and Rapid RT-PCR tests. Both are diagnostic tests for active infections. These tests are highly accurate and are used for traveling. A sample is collected through a nasal or throat swab.

RT-LAMP and Rapid PCR test results are ready within 60 minutes.

Result Expectations

Factors such as the test used and the day of the week you are tested can play a role in its processing. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Results?

Results may be available within minutes or in a few days. The Rapid Antigen test provides results while you wait. Results from the molecular tests are available within 1 hour

If you need a COVID-19 test for traveling, laboratory documentation will be provided with your Rapid RT-PCR travel test results.

What to Do If You Test Positive

According to the CDC, patients who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine to avoid spreading the virus to others. In addition, you should do the following:

  • Stay home unless seeking medical care.
  • Minimize or avoid contact with other people and pets in your household.
  • Rest and stay hydrated. You may take over-the-counter medication to ease your symptoms.

If you test negative, you most likely were not sick when your test sample was collected. However, you could show symptoms and need to be tested again in the future.

Schedule a COVID-19 Test

Rapid Care offers COVID-19 testing in Memphis and Germantown. 

We provide antigen, molecular, and antibody testing. Simply choose the test you need and schedule an appointment using our online form. A nurse will administer the test curbside while you sit comfortably and safely in your car.

Contact Rapid Care

If you need a Rapid COVID-19 test in Memphis or Germantown, book an appointment with Rapid Care today.