What is the PCR test?
The PCR test can detect active coronavirus infection and is the test of choice in hospitals and many urgent care settings. It is considered to be the current gold standard of testing for concerns about symptomatic and asymptomatic coronavirus infections.
The PCR test is also a nasal swab test (similar to a flu swab) that are sent to an outside lab and produces results in approximately 3 days. Please note that Potomac Pediatrics does not determine the turnaround time for PCR results. Lab processing times are impacted by the volume of test they receive for processing and could be longer than 3 days. Positive and negative results are highly accurate with test showing greater than 99% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Many colleges, daycares, and workplaces are now requiring PCR testing for clearance purposes. Just like any other lab, your insurance information will be sent to the lab with your sample. The lab will bill your insurance company and while we still expect this test to be covered at 100% we cannot guarantee payment on behalf of your insurance to the lab.
What is the antigen test?
This rapid antigen test can detect active coronavirus infection (antigen tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus, while PCR tests detect the virus’s genetic material).
The antigen test is a rapid nasal swab test (similar to a flu swab) with results available in less than an hour, unlike the PCR test that may take several days to a week to result. Please note that depending on the volume of testing it may take several hours for our staff to process and result your test. Positive results are highly accurate. False negatives may occur in at least 15 percent of tests performed, and that number may be even higher if the patient is asymptomatic. Because of this, if you request a rapid antigen test, in many situation we will also encourage you to do obtain a PCR sample as well. Antigen testing will be billed to insurance and we expect that most plan will cover test at 100%. However, if your test is not covered by your insurance then your credit card on file will be charged $50.00.
What is the antibody test?
In general, an antibody test is used to determine if a person has been exposed to a virus previously and has an immunity to an infection.
We do not yet know if having antibodies to COVID-19 will offer any future protection from this virus. Current antibody tests can NOT tell you if you are immune to COVID-19. That is because we do not know how long the antibodies will protect you from Coronavirus. It is possible that this test can yield a false positive or negative result resulting in a false sense of confidence that a patient has protection against COVID-19. In the future we may have a better sense of how relevant this test will be for determining Coronavirus immunity.
Antibody testing is available to patients and their parents.
How do I get tested?
Please request all appointments for covid testing via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (301) 279- 6750 and allow 24 business hours for our team to contact you for scheduling.
Please be advised: For all Covid testing appointments, if you need to cancel or reschedule, we ask that you provide our office with a 24hr notice or a no-show/late cancellation fee will be assessed to the account.