COVID-19: diagnostic tests have taken over the normal diagnostic test pipeline for all tests in the United States. Today for the first time in months we have seen the need move .001% back in favor of all other tests and .00001% for Cancer tests. Stay strong things will change back into our favor soon.
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: diagnostic tests and antibody blood tests. Diagnostic tests check samples from your respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests, check your blood for antibodies that would show if you have had a previous infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off germs. A serologic test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1 to 3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur.
We do not know yet if having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 can protect someone from getting infected with that virus again, or how long that protection might last. Scientists are doing studies to answer those questions.
If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.
Diagnostic tests can find the virus that causes COVID-19 in samples taken from your respiratory system, such as swabs of the inside of your nose. Some tests are point-of-care tests, meaning results may be available at the testing site in less than an hour. Other tests must be sent to a laboratory to analyze, a process that takes 1-2 days once received by the lab.
How to decide if you should get a diagnostic test
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help you make decisions about getting a diagnostic test.
- Most people have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. They may not need to be tested.
- At this time, there is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19.
CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments or i healthcare providers.