PCR test collects a sample (via saliva or nose swab) to test if you currently have COVID-19. This is the gold standard testing meaning that it affirms if you have the virus that causes covid-19. This test is done on-site in a clinic or at home. It can be expedited and return in less than 24 hours from a partner lab or the results return in 2-5 days if not expedited.
Rapid testing is a type of COVID test that can be processed on-site in less than one hour.
Antibody testing analyzes your blood to determine if you have developed antibodies against the virus.
Antigen Testing is a rapid screening test that can determine if you have the virus that causes COVID-19.
If you are sure you were exposed or you work in a high risk of being exposed to the public such as in a restaurant, or work on the frontline in a variety of ways, an Antigen test is a rapid option to determine if you have the covid 19 virus. If the Antigen is positive for the virus and you have a high risk of exposure, then one can assume you have the covid 19 infection. Next, a confirmatory test such as the PCR test can be done to confirm infection. While you are waiting for the test results, one can be at home isolating form family and friends. If the PCR test is positive after 3-5 days, you can continue to isolate and monitor your signs and symptoms daily. Always inform your doctor or provider if you have any concerns about your health during your time at home.
Your body forms antibodies against the covid 19 virus from obtaining the infection or obtaining a FDA approved vaccine, The amount of antibodies produced by the body from the actual infection may not provide enough protection to determine that you are protected from future severe infections from the covid19 virus. It has been recommended by CDC and WHO to get a covid19 vaccine when available even though you have had the actual infection. For further information please do not hesitate to refer to the CDC website or your healthcare provider for any questions about testing and the covid19 infection.
Testing is covered most of the time by insurance or by the government if you were exposed or have symptoms. If you need clearance for school work or travel it may not be covered but there are places to get the testing done in your area for a fee.
I hope this is a simple clear explanation of covid19 testing !!