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.
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
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 accuracy 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.
- Test for Past Infection (CDC)
- Serology Testing for COVID-19 (CDC)
- Antibody Testing for COVID-19 (WebMD)