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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The range of associated symptoms was illustrated in a report of over 370,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with known symptom status reported to the CDC in the United States.

  • Cough
  • Fever (subjective or >100.4°F/38°C)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Myalgia
  • Headache
  • Dyspnea
  • Sore Throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Loss of smell or taste, abdominal pain, and rhinorrhea

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets (i.e., a sneeze or cough). Person-to-person spread is mainly through respiratory droplets, in a manner resembling influenza. However, respiratory droplets can remain on contaminated surfaces for a period of time. Unfortunately, given the rapid outbreak and transmission of COVID-19, many risk factors associated with the virus are not yet fully understood.

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

COVID-19 is diagnosed two ways:

  1. Nasal swab test is a nasal swab test which is analyzed by the RT-PCR (measures viral genetic material) and Antigen Test (measures viral surface protein). Nasal Swabs are the prefered method for diagnosing COVID-19 with an active infection. Rapid testing is now available to measure both antigen and PCR.
  2. Antibody Test is a blood test that measures immunity to the virus by determining antibodies in the bloodstream. Antibody Test should not be used to diagnose if you’re positive or negative with an active COVID infection.

What are the different options to test for Covid-19?

Rapid COVID PCR Test

  • Method: Nasal Swab
  • Access: Doctor's Office
  • Results: 15 minutes
  • Manufacturer: Abbott ID NOW
  • Cost: $125
  • FDA Emergency Use Authorization

Rapid COVID Antigen Test

  • Method: Nasal Swab
  • Access: Doctor's Office
  • Results: 15 minutes
  • Manufacturer: Quidel Sofia 2
  • Cost: $85
  • FDA Emergency Use Authorization

COVID Antibody Test (IgG)

  • Method: Blood Draw
  • Access: Laboratory Patient Service Center
  • Results: 3-5 days
  • Manufacturer: Beckman Coulter, Roche
  • Covered by most insurances; self-pay $50
  • FDA Emergency Use Authorization

COVID PCR Swab Test

  • Swab
  • Access: Doctor's Office
  • Results: 3-5 days
  • Manufacturer: Hologic Panther Fusion, Roche
  • Cost: Covered by most insurances; self-pay $100
  • FDA Emergency Use Authorization

What is a Rapid COVID Test?

It is a test that tests the presence of COVID in your body in 15 minutes via a nasal swab. There are two types of rapid tests on the market, The Rapid Antigen Test and The Rapid PCR Test.

What is the difference between The Rapid Antigen and Rapid PCR Test?

The Rapid Antigen Test measures the presence of surface protein of the virus and the Rapid PCR Test measures the presence of viral DNA. PCR assays were originally used to analyze and diagnose COVID in early 2020 with results taking several days due to increased demand. Rapid PCR tests are now available with same day results.

How Accurate are the Rapid Antigen and PCR Tests?

The information is according to their corresponding manufacturers, both tests have an accuracy of over 97%.

What does COVID PCR Swab Test mean?

Like the Rapid test, The Covid PCR Swab Test determines if you are positive or negative with an active COVID infection and the specimens are collected via a nasal swab.

The difference is that The Covid PCR Swab Test specimens are sent to a lab for detailed analysis. Results can typically take a few days depending on the lab’s volume. As opposed to the Rapid Tests that can yield results in 15 minutes.

Which Test is needed for travel?

A PCR Test is required to travel. Both Rapid PCR or Swab PCR Tests are sufficient.

Who should get the antibody test?

The antibody test is recommended for:

  1. Those who are experiencing symptoms after 7 days
  2. Those who have had prolonged exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
  3. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently symptom free.

Where to get a COVID Test?

You can book an appointment with LabFinder by clicking the link here. Book your appointment

What is the difference between the Nasal Swab and Antibody test?

The COVID-19 Nasal Swab is a diagnostic test that checks whether or not you're positive or negative of the virus. This test is appropriate for those who suspect an infection, are sick, recently traveled internationally, or known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Antibody test checks if your body has developed an immunity from the virus. This test is most appropriate for those who have recovered from COVID-19 or to know if you are a symptom-free carrier.. Book your appointment

What is an antibody?

Antibodies are cells that the body produces to fight infections.

Why is the Antibody test important?

Antibodies are cells that the body produces to fight infections. The test looks for 2 antibodies, IgM and IgG. IgM indicates current infection. IgG indicates old infection. The Antibody test is important to understand if people have antibodies to fight COVID-19. The application of this test helps determine if you are a carrier of the virus.

How is the Antibody test performed?

The antibody test is performed by a blood test from a licensed technician. Prior evaluation by a healthcare provider will determine eligibility. The video below shows blood specimens being analyzed by one of LabFinder’s partner laboratories.

What do the COVID Antibody Test results mean?

What does RT-qPCR mean?
A positive result means that the COVID-19 virus is currently present in your immune system. A negative result means that the COVID-19 virus is not currently active in your immune system.

What is the difference between IgM and IgG?
IgM and IgG are the antibodies that your body makes to fight infection. IgM is the first type of antibody made to fight new infections and then IgG is the antibody that is found in your system after you have already recovered from an infection.

ACTIVE INFECTION
Your results show that you may be currently sick with the COVID-19 Virus. It is recommended that you look out for any signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and contact your healthcare provider for more information.

EARLY INFECTION
Your results show that you may be in the early stages of the COVID-19 Virus. If you are feeling ill, please contact your healthcare provider for more information.

LATE STAGE/RECURRENT INFECTION
Your results show that your body is starting to build antibodies to fight the COVID-19 Virus. However, it is also noted that the COVID-19 virus is still active in your body. These results mean that you are actively recovering from COVID-19, or you have a recurrent infection from the virus. If you are still feeling ill, please contact your healthcare provider for more information.

ANTIBODIES PRESENT
Your results show that you have antibodies present for COVID-19. It appears that you have had this virus in the past. If you are feeling unwell, please contact your healthcare provider for more information.

POSSIBLE FALSE NEGATIVE
Your results show that your body is building the antibodies for the COVID-19 Virus. You could be currently sick with the virus. However, the results do not show evidence of an active infection. This could be a false negative.


This table is based on the current knowledge about the rise and fall of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and IgM/IgG antibodies and the correlation of these level variations with the initial time of infection, onset of symptoms and recovery phase.

The key takeaway is that the results of RT-qPCR and IgM/IgG serological tests do not necessarily need to agree. A disagreement between the two tests, if any, can often be traced to the after-infection time points at which the tests were performed. Overall, while RT-qPCR testing may be appropriate for the detection of the COVID-19 virus during the acute phase, IgM/IgG is an appropriate test during the chronic phase. Since the exact time of infection is often unknown, combining RT/qPCR and IGM/IgG testing can improve the accuracy of the COVID-19 diagnosis.

Are you going back to school? Which Test is best for me?

The best test option to get is a Nasal Swab Test, either PCR or Rapid Test. This test will determine if you are currently active with an infection and will clear you to engage with the public. Results turnaround time can vary with labs with PCR Tests. Rapid Antigen Testing can yield results in 15mins.

How can I protect myself?

  • Stay calm.
  • Hand hygiene is paramount. Wash your hands frequently, especially after going outside or touching commonly touched surfaces (i.e., the subway handles, elevator buttons, and escalators). Rub hands with soap and water vigorously for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying. When soap/water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. If there is a need to go out, wear a mask to prevent spreading your germs to others.

How can I protect myself?
  • Use disinfecting wipes (greater than 60% alcohol content) to properly wipe down commonly touched surfaces (ie. doorknobs, handles, light switches, keyboards, mouse’s, and portable electronic devices).
  • Breathing exercises to expand lung capacity and strengthen the diaphragm.
  • Avoiding contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your face (ie. eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Covering your mouth upon coughing and sneezing. If flu-like symptoms arise, make sure to schedule a coronavirus testing appointment as soon as possible.

Clean Wash your hands regularly Use alchohol-based sanitizers.
Cover Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Contain Don’t share drinks or utensils. Use your own pen/pencil.

1. Weaver, C. Questions About Accuracy of Coronavirus Tests Sow Worry. The Wall Street Journal. April 2 nd , 2020. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/questions-aboutaccuracy-of-coronavirus-tests-sow-worry-11585836001 2. Li R, Pei S, Chen B, Song Y, Zhang T, Yang W, Shaman J2. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science. 2020 Mar 16. pii: eabb3221. 3. Lauer, S. et al., 2020. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Annals of Internal Medicine. 4. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, New Coronavirus Pneumonia Diagnosis and Treatment Program (Trial Version 7). 5. To KK, Tsang OT, Leung WS, Tam AR, Wu TC, Lung DC et al. (2020). Temporal profiles of viral load in posterior oropharyngeal saliva samples and serum antibody responses during infection by SARS-CoV-2: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Mar 23. pii: S1473-3099(20)30196-1.