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Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing
More Questions? We’ve got answers.
PCR tests have to be done in the lab. That test has an amplification step so it can find small amounts of virus in somebody’s nose. That means you can detect the infection a little bit earlier on.
The rapid antigen test requires a lot of virus to see a positive result because there’s no amplification step. The good part about that is that if you test positive in this fast test, then you really know you should not be around other people. You are infectious and need to isolate immediately.
There are pros and cons: you can catch an infection earlier with a PCR test, but you get the immediate actionable result with the rapid antigen test. They’ve been shown to be pretty equivalent in lots of different scenarios.
If you test positive for COVID-19 you should isolate yourself from others. It may take some time for public health representatives to contact you. Until you are contacted by public health representatives, please follow this guidance.
If your symptoms are mild, or if you are not experiencing any symptoms, you should isolate at home. Stay home, unless you need to seek medical attention. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Do not attend social gatherings or groups. If you feel well enough, you may spend time outside on your property away from other people.
No. Because of the diversity and breadth of tests currently available, most diagnostic tests can still be reliably used to diagnose the variant strains.
SOURCE: The Center for Health Security