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How Long Does It Take To Get Rapid COVID-19 Test Results?

When you have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to a positive case, it’s crucial to consider COVID-19 testing. While the idea of testing might be overwhelming, taking a test will protect you and others if you have contracted the virus. In many places, people can take a rapid antigen test, which provides quick results, or PCR COVID-19 test, which is more accurate. But just how fast is a rapid COVID test?

What Is a Rapid COVID-19 Test?

A rapid antigen COVID-19 test detects proteins on the outside of the COVID-19 virus after collecting samples from the nasal passages with a swab. You might have an option between a rapid antigen test and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a testing site. PCR tests use a nasal specimen to collect a sample and then analyze it, looking for the DNA of the COVID-19 virus.

How Long Does It Take To Get Coronavirus Test Results?

Rapid antigen tests can produce results in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. This provides a quick answer to whether or not you’re positive. With fast results comes reassurance of health and safety for you and those around you. Rapid tests are most accurate when symptoms are present. One to five days after symptoms begin or five days after exposure to a positive individual, your chances of getting a precise test increase significantly. However, it is possible to get a false negative or false positive with rapid tests. 

BioCollections offers a PCR test with better accuracy and you’ll get your results in 10-24 hours.

Where Can I Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test?

The best options for receiving a rapid antigen test are at home or a nearby authorized location. This allows you to test within the safety of your own home or by a certified individual at a pharmacy or other official testing site. Most at-home rapid COVID tests can be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores. You can get free rapid tests sent to you through COVIDtests.gov. While these tests will take time to get to your doorstep, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can test at any time without setting appointments or leaving your home. If you’re in urgent need of a test, please search  “Free rapid COVID testing near me.”

What is The Procedure For a Rapid Test?

The rapid antigen test procedure is quite simple. Whether you’re testing at home or by a health service, the rapid test follows these steps:

  1. Pour a premade solution into the extraction tube.
  2. Insert the swab into the nasal passage about half an inch deep. 
  3. Swirl the swab around the edges for about five seconds in both nostrils. 
  4. Place the swab in the extraction tube, where the nasal swab is immersed into the solution for approximately two minutes.
  5. Squeeze the tube around the swab to ensure the entirety of the sample is scraped off. 
  6. Place the dropper cap onto the extraction tube. 
  7. Open the antigen test and drop three drops onto the sample site.
  8. Wait fifteen minutes for your results.

If you’re testing at home, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Before you begin, the CDC’s recommendation for conducting an at-home test includes washing your hands before and after collecting a specimen through your nasal cavity and following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Does a Positive COVID Test Take Longer to Get Results?

No, in most cases, a rapid antigen test will provide a result within 10 to 15 minutes. A positive result may show up quicker than a negative result. Still, it is best to wait the recommended amount of time before determining whether the outcome is positive or negative.

How Long for PCR COVID Test Results?

You might be wondering what the PCR COVID test vs. the rapid test result time looks like. The “gold standard” PCR COVID-19 tests take longer to process than the rapid antigen test. That’s because PCR tests search for COVID-19 on a molecular level instead of proteins like the rapid test. Most PCR test providers have a turnaround time of a few days. However, BioCollections PCR tests are returned in 10-24 hours, giving you confidence in your results quickly.

Do I Need to Quarantine While Waiting for My COVID-19 Screening Test Result?

While it’s important to keep you and those around you safe, the recommended answer of whether or not to quarantine depends on your vaccination status and previous illness. 

If your COVID-19 vaccinations are up-to-date or you tested positive within the past three months, you should wear a well-fitting mask when out in public for ten days.

If you are not vaccinated and have not tested positive within the past three months, you should quarantine at home for five days and wear a well-fitting mask when out in public for ten days.

Other preventive measures you can take while awaiting your results include:

  • keeping track of any new symptoms
  • washing your hands for at least twenty seconds
  • cleaning high-touch surfaces

Remember that rapid tests are most accurate when symptoms are present but less accurate without symptoms. Ultimately, if your test is negative and you are unsure of the result, it’s advisable to confirm with a PCR test. The updated CDC guidelines will help you find recommended procedures on quarantine and testing.

BioCollections, the Gold Standard

Rapid antigen tests provide you the opportunity to get results quickly. However, some drawbacks include the possibility of false negatives/positives. It is advisable to follow these results with a more reliable PCR test. It is always important to speak with your healthcare provider regarding any questions or concerns regarding your test results.
At BioCollections, we pride ourselves on offering the gold standard PCR COVID-19 tests with quick and reliable results. We’ve been at the forefront of COVID-19 testing development and assure accuracy. For over 20 years, we have been helping our communities with testing for infectious diseases. For more information regarding how BioCollections can help you, visit our website and schedule an appointment today.

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