Covid Testing Information: Breaking it All Down
As Covid 19 continues its presence in our communities, we all want to do what is best to protect ourselves and our families. Often times, this includes getting a Covid 19 test.
There are two main types of diagnostic tests for Covid-19: molecular testing commonly referred to as a PCR test, and antigen testing. Rapid Antigen testing is quite good at identifying virus in even mildly symptomatic patients early in the infectious period. The PCR test, a more sensitive test, can pick up asymptomatic patients who may be infectious and spread the virus before they have symptoms. Milford Regional Physician Group is able to offer PCR tests, as well as Rapid Antigen testing.
IF I AM SYMPTOMATIC, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- Patients with mild potential symptoms for Covid-19 (cough, congestion, muscle aches, fever, loss of taste or smell, mild GI symptoms) should quarantine and call their primary care provider (PCP). He/she will be able to guide you via telehealth regarding testing guidelines. It is important to note that being tested too early may lead to a false result.
- Patients with high fever, shortness of breath or other concerning symptoms are considered high risk for Covid 19. You should call your PCP who will likely direct you to the ER or Urgent Care location to be further evaluated and tested.
IF I AM ASYMPTOMATIC, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- Patients who are asymptomatic, but are a close household contact to a known-positive Covid-19 patient or a suspected Covid-19 patient who has results pending, should be tested. The ideal time to get tested is 3-5 days after exposure to the contact. Patients can call their PCP to discuss where to get a test, or find information regarding statewide testing sites on mass.gov/stopthespread.
- If you are Massachusetts public school student, you will need a PCR test on day 8 after exposure in order to return to school provided you remain asymptomatic.
- If you are asymptomatic but want a test for any reason, you may go to one of our urgent care locations and receive an appropriate test. You may also call your PCP, set up a telemedicine visit, and be sent for testing through our lab in Franklin.
- If you have travelled and need a test upon return to Massachusetts, you can visit our urgent care locations. This can be done at no cost to patient but you must be covered under your health insurance plan.
- If you have had Covid 19 illness within the last 90 days, you do not need a test to come back to Massachusetts.
- If you have been fully vaccinated more than two weeks ago, you no longer need to be tested for travel upon returning to Massachusetts.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO REMEMBER:
It is crucial to remember though that testing only indicates your status at a moment in time. Testing is indicative of whether you are carrying the virus at the time of the test. If you have been exposed and become infected, testing immediately after the exposure will never result in a positive result. It is best to wait 5 days after exposure to be tested, as it takes time to build enough virus to be detectable via testing. Because there is potential for false negative results, it’s critical that if you have potentially been exposed, you appropriately quarantine to avoid spread of the virus. For example, an individual could have a negative test on Monday, be exposed to Covid-19 on Tuesday, and spread the virus asymptomatically on Thursday, Friday, and so on until symptoms develop.
Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing when you are in public or with people who are not yet vaccinated. We understand that these are uncertain and challenging times, and we are doing all we can to provide MRPG patients with the most up-to-date information regarding the Covid-19 virus and related testing and vaccine information.