Information on Testing
Viral Testing for COVID-19
Viral tests check samples from your respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Some tests are point-of-care tests, meaning results may be available at the testing site in less than an hour. Other tests must be sent to a laboratory to analyze, a process that takes 1-2 days once received by the lab.
COVID-19 testing differs by location. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first. You can also find information on viral testing in the Coronavirus FAQs. Although supplies of tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two viral tests that let you collect either a nasal swab or a saliva sample at home. However, you will still need to send your sample to a laboratory for analysis.
Antibody Testing for COVID-19
Wellesley is now reporting positive COVID-19 antibody tests. Some of these cases are individuals who may have been ill a few weeks ago and recovered but were never tested, or are cases where individuals are asymptomatic (without symptoms). There is still very little known about antibody testing.
What is an antibody test?
Antibody blood tests, also called antibody tests, check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. These tests are available from health care providers and laboratories.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, this test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. Also, the accurracy of these tests are in question as there is a higher than average instance of false positive tests.
Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19. To see if you have a current infection, you need a viral test, which checks respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose.
If an individual does undergo an antibody test and tests positive for the antibody, that person is advised to get a COVID-19 test (nasopharyngeal (NP) swab) and will be asked to isolate until the results of that test is known.
While antibody testing may indicate a past infection, in the absence of other testing (nasopharyngeal (NP) swab), a positive antibody test is treated like a positive case and therefore, that person will be asked to isolate for 10 days and close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.
According to the MA Department of Public Health, at this time, antibody testing should not be used to guide release from isolation or for return to work purposes and are not indicated for diagnostic purposes.
- Test for Past Infection (CDC)
- Serology Testing for COVID-19 (CDC)
- Antibody Testing for COVID-19 (WebMD)