We are now over eight months into the coronavirus pandemic and, even with a promising vaccine on the horizon, our lives continue to be greatly affected. With numbers rising in our area and the holidays looming, health officials recommend we remain as vigilant as ever. Despite our best efforts, it is likely that every family will require testing at some point, whether due to concern for infection or to ensure they are safe to be in contact with loved ones.
PCR vs. Antigen Testing
There are currently two types of testing available – PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and antigen. Your doctor may have both available as they are useful in different situations.
The PCR test, which detects the virus’s genetic material, is a more accurate test. You can better trust that the result of the test – whether positive or negative – is correct. The downside of the PCR test is that it takes longer to get a result. PCR tests are done with a nasal swab or saliva and can be used for patients with or without symptoms.
The antigen test is done via a nasal swab and detects specific proteins from the virus. This test is similar to the flu test so it can give rapid results in as little as 15-30 minutes. However, the antigen test is less reliable than the PCR test. If you receive a positive antigen test you likely have COVID-19; however, a negative antigen test is not reliable and should be followed up by the more accurate PCR test to ensure you are not infected. The antigen test is best used for patients who are having symptoms of the novel coronavirus, not for screening those who are feeling well.
What We Offer at Spring Valley Pediatrics
Rapid Antigen Testing:
- Since this test is for patients with symptoms, if your child is showing signs of the novel coronavirus a rapid antigen test can be performed in our on-site laboratory in 30 minutes. Remember that if the antigen test is negative, a PCR nasal swab must also be done to ensure that the result is accurate.
- We are currently able to offer an expedited PCR nasal swab test. These results will be delivered to your email same day if you are tested during our morning drive up session. If you are tested in the afternoon, your results will be ready by lunch the following day. These expedited results allow us to quickly get accurate answers to our families.
- We continue to offer the PCR nasal swab test with standard turn around time currently averaging 3-5 days.
- We continue to offer a saliva PCR test which reports results to your email in 2-3 days.
The nasal swab PCR is available during office visits as well as in our drive-up testing which is scheduled each weekday afternoon. Drive-up testing continues to be open to our Spring Valley Pediatrics patients and household members. Please call by noon in order to reserve one of these testing appointments.
Our Commitment to Our Patients
Throughout the pandemic, our doors have remained open each and every day for our families. We have been able to offer in-person and virtual appointments, provided a record number of flu shots this Fall, and performed thousands of COVID-19 tests for our community. We will continue to provide the utmost care to our families and be available to answer your questions during these uncertain times. Have a safe holiday season!