Anxiously waiting on your COVID test results? So are many other people. Recently, the New York Times reported that nearly 2 million COVID-19 tests were being processed every day. Before you start panicking and Googling, “I haven’t received my COVID test results,” let us ease your mind. We’ll elaborate on some of the intricacies involved in the COVID-19 testing process and explain what you should expect while you wait to receive your results.
There are two kinds of COVID-19 tests widely available, and your wait time depends on which test you were able to take. There are rapid COVID-19 antigen tests and COVID-19 PCR tests. In the following sections, we will explain how each of these tests differ and discuss how long it typically takes to receive results.
There are many factors that could cause your COVID-19 test results to take longer than expected. Many of these factors depend on where you live and the specific challenges your particular area is facing in regards to the pandemic. Some of these challenges include:
The amount of time it takes to receive your COVID-19 test results varies greatly from state to state and city to city. For example, Indiana’s COVID-19 response website states that all PCR test results will be delivered in 2 to 3 days. You can estimate how long your results will take to process by viewing your local government’s COVID response website.
Additionally, as of January 14, 2022 the White House announced that they will begin to distribute at-home rapid COVID-19 tests to all Americans.
Rapid COVID-19 antigen testing can be performed at a COVID-19 testing site, inside a medical facility, or at home using an at-home COVID-19 testing kit. Rapid antigen COVID-19 tests detect specific proteins on the surface of coronavirus molecules to determine a positive or negative result. The testing process for rapid COVID-19 antigen tests is fairly simple and quick. All you have to do is insert a cotton-tipped swab into one or both nostrils, and rotate the swab to collect your sample.
After your sample has been collected and analyzed then you can get results in a matter of minutes or hours. Some rapid at-home tests can give you results in 30 minutes or less. All rapid COVID-19 antigen tests are guaranteed to give you results within the same day of testing.
A false negative test means that your test incorrectly identified the presence of the COVID-19 virus in your body even though you are infected. When it comes to rapid COVID-19 tests, false negatives are more common than false positives. Healthline reported that the rapid COVID test false negative rate is around 25-30%. If you receive a negative result, but you have reason to believe that your test result is false, then you should pursue a PCR test as soon as possible. You should follow the currently established quarantine guidelines from the CDC while you wait for your PCR test results. On the flip side, according to Healthline, researchers found that the rapid test false positive rate is less than 1 percent. According to the FDA, rapid covid tests have a high level of specificity, meaning that their positive results are very trustworthy.
Molecular polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests are considered to be the gold standard for accuracy in COVID-19 testing. PCR tests detect genetic material that is specific to the COVID-19 virus. The process of taking a PCR test is the same as taking a rapid COVID-19 test.
After your sample has been collected and analyzed, you can typically receive your PCR test results in 24 hours. However, depending on the supply and demand in your local area, your test results may take more than 24 hours to process. If the demand for COVID-19 testing is high in your area, then it will take longer for your PCR test results to process.
It has been confirmed that PCR tests are significantly more accurate than the rapid antigen tests. False negatives can occur with a PCR COVID-19 test, however, the false negative rate or PCR tests has not exceeded 20%. When it comes to false positive PCR tests, a study conducted by Frontiers in Health found that PCR COVID-19 tests only showed false positive results 0.015 percent of the time.
At BioCollections, our mission is to make the world a safer place. Our fast and accurate PCR testing will give you results in 10-13 hours instead of making you wait for days on end. Visit our website to learn more about our testing solutions, and contact us if you have any questions.