What are the different types of COVID-19 Testing?

COVID-19 testing is becoming more and more available as public health agencies and local healthcare providers have access to adequate supply. Testing for the novel coronavirus was extremely limited in the opening months of the pandemic, but now supplies are catching up with demand.

The increase in COVID-19 demand means that patients now have access to multiple types of testing. Certain tests are more useful in certain situations; a serology or antibody test helps evaluate a patient’s immunity while a standard diagnostic test is simply to determine if the COVID-19 virus is in your blood stream.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of COVID-19 testing that patients can secure at AFC Urgent Care Tampa:

Standard Diagnostic COVID-19 Testing

Diagnostic testing, or reverse Transcriptase-PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing, is the process to help providers determine if they have an active COVID-19 infection. Also referred to as a “swab test,”a provider involves taking a swab from a symptomatic patient’s nose or throat to detect the prescence of the virus. The exact sensitivity (ability to correctly identify those with the illness — true positive rate) and specificity (ability to correctly identify those who don’t have the illness—true negative rate) is not known.  

Symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to symptoms of the flu, common cold, and other allergies. This means that a symptomatic patient benefits from a COVID-19 test to check if their symptoms are truly a result of the virus.

Patients have have more questions about standard testing can consult our COVID-19 urgent care services to learn more.

COVID-19 Antibody and Serology Testing

Unlike a diagnostic test, a COVID-19 antibody test (serology test) is used to detect a patient’s immune response to the virus. The test detects the presence of antibodies in a patient’s blood stream.

If COVID-19 antibodies are detected, it does not mean that you are immune to the virus. However, the presence of antibodies can help develop a more accurate case count for the region as well as developing any patterns for patients who have the virus in their systems but are asymptomatic.

For most insured patients, there is no copay required for patients undergoing an antibody test, with a nominal fee collected for those who self-pay. If you have questions about antibody testing payment please contact your health plan insurance provider to learn more.

The news cycle is currently dominated by COVID-19 updates, and we understand that it is hard for patients to make sense of all of this information as it rapidly changes. At AFC Tampa, we’re here to provide the COVID-19 tests that make the most sense for you.