Should I get tested for COVID-19?
We constantly hear that widespread testing is one of the prerequisites to getting our state and country opened up, yet it wasn’t that long ago that most people who thought they might have COVID-19 were told to self-quarantine and not get tested. Only those with the greatest need were eligible because testing for the disease got off to a very rocky, slow start in this country. The initial test kits recalled, by the CDC, and there have been shortages of supplies essential to performing the tests. There are still many areas where testing is not widely available, but fortunately, that is not the case in Nevada County.
There are two kinds of tests for COVID-19:
Viral Tests (detect the virus): called PCR tests, use a specimen from the nose, throat or lungs and detect infection.
Antibody Tests: use serum and show whether a person has been exposed to the virus at some time in the past. Antibodies are what our bodies create to give us immunity to infections, but they take about 2 weeks to appear, so a negative antibody test does not rule out current infection. The serology tests available today, none of which has been fully vetted, can tell us if we have had the infection, but not if we have enough or the right kind of antibodies to make us immune to a second round. Antibody tests are useful for epidemiology and predictive models.
The Good News
Both viral and antibody testing are available at Yubadocs Urgent Care and other facilities in the community, with more capacity expected in the near future.