There are two kinds of tests available for COVID-19:
A viral test tells you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Molecular and antigen tests are types of viral tests. Viral tests are also called diagnostic tests.
An antibody test tells you if you previously had an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This type of test is also called a serological test.
A viral test tells you if you have a current infection. Two types of viral tests can be used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. PCR tests are a type of NAAT test, and is our most sensitive (detects the disease when present) and specific (is accurate when a positive) test. Test results are available typically within 48 hours or less.
CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.
You may want to test for infection if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing one or more symptoms associated with COVID-19 that may be caused by the virus.
Additionally, you may be required to have a negative test for work, to fly on an airplane, or to participate in various other activities.
If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.
The test is performed by taking a sample by swabbing the inside of your nose or you may provide a saliva sample.
Exposure to COVID-19 or having had the COVID-19 vaccine causes your body to produce antibodies as part of your immune response. Our rapid COVID-19 Antibody test quickly checks for antibodies to COVID-19 with results while you wait typically in less than 15 minutes.
An antibody test (also known as a serology test) might tell you if you had a past infection. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection.