COVID Test (Rapid) Home Visit
The rapid test can be run from start to finish in the home, increasing the access to widespread testing outside of healthcare facilities. This testing capability not only reduces potential exposure at hospitals or testing sites but also provides patients with fast and convenient results.
Why an At-home Rapid COVID Test is Different
At-home test providers send a medical professional directly to a patient’s home or office - no lines, no increased risk of exposure, just fast, private testing.
Companies like Ready offer what is known as a Rapid Antigen COVID test, which gives a patient their results in 15 minutes. Many other care providers are administering a PCR test, which must be processed in a lab, and generally takes 2-3 days before patients can see their results. Unfortunately, in the 2-3 day waiting period, there’s ample time for exposure to COVID making the PCR test an unsettling alternative for some patients.
If you’re concerned you may have contracted the coronavirus, it’s important to get tested. Health authorities recommend getting tested for COVID-19 if you:
Are suffering from symptoms of COVID-19
Have come in contact with anyone that tested positive for the virus
Traveled to a destination on a no-travel list or an area with high infection rates
Were in close contact with a group of more than 10 people
Need a test to return to work or school
Test results will simply tell you if you’re currently infected with the virus — not if you’ve had the virus in the past. If you test negative for the virus, you may need to be tested again in a few days as false positives may happen in the first few days after infecting the virus.
Types of COVID-19 Testing
There are two types of COVID-19 tests: rapid and PCR. Both tests are approved by the FDA for emergency use; the rapid test provides results in less than 30 minutes, while the PCR test takes up to 48 hours to analyze results. The rapid test isn’t as accurate though and may provide false negatives.
COVID Antibody Test Vs COVID-19 Test
The COVID-19 antigen test and antibody test are two very different tests. The COVID test is a swab test that detects COVID-19 infection. The antibody test is a blood test that detects past infection of the coronavirus disease through antibodies in the immune system.
COVID Antibody Test
Unlike the COVID-19 test, the antibody test simply tells you if you were previously infected with the virus.
Benefits of a COVID Antibody Test
There are many reasons why you might want to check to see if you were previously infected with the COVID-19 virus. While most doctors don’t guarantee immunity from the virus, researchers believe that you may have some level of immunity.
Check to see if you were previously infected with COVID-19
Track and trace COVID disease to provide researchers with data
Gain insight on possible immunity to the virus
Harvest blood plasma to provide therapy to those currently suffering from the virus
While natural immunity isn’t ‘total immunity,' you may suffer from less stress knowing that you have some level of immunity to the virus. You’ll also provide valuable data to researchers trying to understand the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic and possible long-term health effects.
How the Antibody Test Works
According to the CDC, COVID antibody tests simply check for virus antibodies. These antibodies are made of proteins that develop in response to the virus and show up in tests as the result of the system fighting off infection.
Positive tests indicate that someone has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19). It doesn’t indicate a current infection. Antibodies form one-to-three weeks after infection.
Negative Antibody Test Results
If your COVID antibody test comes back negative, you most likely have never been infected with the virus.
Yet, the CDC states that the virus is so novel that nothing is ruled out when it comes to COVID-19. It is somewhat possible that you were at one point infected with the virus if you have a negative antibody test result.
This is partially why it’s important to take precautions against the virus, including wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and sanitizing your hands frequently.
Antibody Test Accuracy
The COVID-19 antibody test is not always accurate. Someone could possibly test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies without having the specific antibodies needed for immunity or to show that there was a previous infection. The CDC also states that someone could test negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that do in fact have those antibodies.
Essentially, false positives and false negatives are possible. While the antibody tests have been approved by the FDA, they are not 100% accurate.
If you want to avoid a false positive test, you can ask for a high-specificity antibody test. The more testing completed by researchers, the more accurate the tests will become.
Where Can I Get a COVID Antibody Test?
If you’re interested in getting tested for COVID antibodies, there are plenty of testing locations. The most common sites include urgent care clinics, at-home urgent care providers, healthcare providers, and state and local public healthcare departments.
Urgent Care Clinics
One of the most popular places to get a COVID antibody test is an urgent care clinic. These walk-in clinics often don’t require an appointment and offer same-day service. Some even offer timed appointments.
Simply walk into a clinic, sign in at the desk, and take a seat to wait for a doctor or nurse practitioner.
While these clinics can sometimes be convenient, they can also be somewhat unpredictable. You may end up waiting five minutes or five hours to see a healthcare professional — and since these clinics provide support for dozens (if not hundreds) of common urgent care conditions, you may also end up waiting with sicker patients (some that may be getting tested for COVID-19).
At-Home Urgent Care
At-home urgent care is a new level of service that replaces walk-in clinics. You get the same high-quality treatment that you’d get in an in-person clinic — only from the comfort of your own home. At-home urgent care providers like Ready offer same-day appointments for a long list of urgent care conditions — including COVID antibody tests.
Simply call (917)-274-7734, say that you need a COVID antibody test, and the dispatcher will send a trained EMT or paramedic to your home (outfitted in safety gear) to take a blood sample. Wait in the comfort of your own home and never be exposed to sick people.
This type of at-home antibody testing is also ideal for the elderly, mobility impaired, and otherly-abled.
Of course, you can always head to your own primary healthcare provider’s or primary care physician’s office to get a COVID-19 antibody test. Simply call the receptionist to find out if the antibody test is available or to make an appointment.
It’s important to note that chain and local pharmacies and drugstores are not offering the antibody test at this time — though most do offer COVID-19 tests to determine if you’re infected with the virus.
State Public Health Departments
If you’re unsure of where to get the antibody test, you can always call your state’s health department or visit the state public health department’s website. The state has all the latest information on where to get antibody tests as well as walk-up and drive-through COVID-19 antibody testing site locations.
At-Home Health Testing Kits
Some health testing sites are offering the COVID-19 antibody test. Companies like Lemonaid are waiting on FDA approval for the emergency use of at-home antibody tests.
Other companies like EverlyWell currently offer their users access to the COVID-19 PCR test (different from the rapid and antibody tests) with a turnaround time of 3-5 days and only require a nasal swab to determine if you're infected.
When the test becomes available, you’ll simply need to order the test, fill out a few health questions, and take the test. The at-home test kit requires a simple finger prick and blood collection test strip. Simply mail the test strip back to the lab, and get your results in as little as a few days.
Do I Still Need the Vaccine?
Even if you’ve tested positive for antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, most health professionals still recommend that you get vaccinated for COVID-19 when you’re eligible for the vaccine.
Healthcare providers don’t know how antibodies will affect your immunity long-term, and there is some data that suggests you may not be immune to COVID at all. Experts also don’t know if or how antibodies for one strain of the virus will protect you against other strains of COVID.
Essentially, the virus is so new that it’s hard to predict how antibodies will protect us in the future — or if we’ll have immunity at all. The only way to guarantee at least a 94% effectiveness of immunity against COVID is to be vaccinated for the virus.