Covid-19 Testing Clinic Questions and Answers
If you are in need of a COVID-19 test, trust the professionals at Sunset Hills Family Practice in Henderson, NV. For more information call us now.
While various vaccines are being rolled out for COVID-19, the virus is still with us for the time being. As such, it remains important to get tested for COVID-19 if you are having symptoms of infection or were in close contact with a confirmed infection. For COVID-19 testing, our doctors, nurses, and medical professionals at Sunset Hills Family Practice would be pleased to be of service.
Who can be tested for Covid-19?
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or individuals who have traveled to high-risk areas or participated in high-risk activities should get tested for COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
There are numerous symptoms of COVID-19, some more common than others and some indicating a serious infection. With that in mind, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Dry cough
Less common symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:
- Discoloration of the fingers or toes
- Loss of smell or taste
- Muscle aches and pains
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
If you are experiencing any of the following more serious symptoms of COVID-19, seek immediate medical attention:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Loss of movement or speech
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
COVID-19 can be diagnosed through several different tests, including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, rapid molecular tests, and rapid antigen tests. Antibody or serology tests can also test for COVID-19; however, these tests are not used for active diagnosis but detect past infections by checking a patient’s blood for antibodies developed by the immune system in response to a COVID-19 infection. In contrast, RT-PCR and rapid molecular tests examine a sample of respiratory fluid from a patient for genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while rapid antigen tests test respiratory fluid samples for specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
What does a COVID-19 test consist of?
RT-PCR, rapid molecular assays, and rapid antigen tests are all conducted through nasopharyngeal swabs to obtain a sample of respiratory fluid from a patient. As such, COVID-19 diagnostic tests are performed by inserting a long and thin cotton-tipped swab into the nose or back of the patient’s throat to obtain a sample of respiratory fluid.
With RT-PCR tests, the sample of respiratory fluid is sent to a medical laboratory for analysis. In order for the lab technician to properly analyze the sample, they must perform a process of extraction, during which the technician will isolate and extract the genetic material from the sample. The genetic material is then placed in a PCR machine, known as a thermal cycler, with special chemicals to trigger a chemical reaction that creates millions of copies of the sample’s genetic material. If the SARS-CoV-2 virus is present in the sample, the chemicals will produce a fluorescent light to signal a positive result. In total, RT-PCR tests take approximately 48 to 72 hours to return results to patients.
Rapid molecular assays follow a similar process to RT-PCR tests but can determine a positive or negative result in 13 minutes or less. With that being said, rapid molecular assays are generally not as accurate as RT-PCR tests.
Rapid antigen tests examine samples of respiratory fluid by mixing the sample with a solution that releases specific proteins from the virus. The mixture is applied to a paper testing strip containing an antibody that will bind to any existing proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the sample. This binding process will create a visual reaction on the testing strip. Rapid antigen tests typically return results within 15 minutes of obtaining the sample.
We welcome you to come to Sunset Hills Family Practice for a COVID-19 testing appointment if you think you are having COVID-19 symptoms or are at high risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. For an appointment, please call us or schedule an appointment through our website.
We serve patients from Henderson NV, Midway NV, Gibson Springs NV, Paradise Hills NV, and Winchester NV.