New York is now in full testing mode – The shortage is over, and insurance is fully covering testing for everyone. Hearing this, it now makes sense that New York state has tested more people per capita than any other country in the World!
As you look at your testing options, know that each testing site operates differently. Here are the five most important considerations to keep in mind when getting tested:
1. Pick a Safe Clinic
Don’t forget that we are still in the midst of a devastating pandemic. Choose a testing center that is safe, hygienic, and can accommodate social distancing guidelines. A few specific things to look out for: everyone staying 6 feet apart from each other, there only being appointments and not walk-ins, the lack of crowded waiting rooms or lines down the street, and that the staff are wearing layers of protective equipment.
If you are unsure if a testing site is taking these safety measures seriously, ask! If the person answering the phone cannot clearly answer these questions, it’s likely they are not being as safe as you would want them to be.
2. Avoid Clinics that Treat Active Cases of COVID-19
You should try to avoid sites that test patients with active COVID symptoms. If someone who is actively sick enters a testing site, there is a chance that they could infect someone in that space, even if they are wearing a face mask. Contrary, asymptomatic patients are not as likely to pass the infection to another person.
3. Find Reliable Testing that you are Comfortable with
The FDA has not officially approved any diagnostic swab test (molecular) or blood antibody test (serology). All of the currently available tests are under emergency-use authorization: this means that they are given an unofficial approval by the FDA based on preliminary data. To view the list of tests that are approved under the current emergency, click here.
Here at Bethany Medical Clinic of New York, we decided that we are doing an Oropharyngeal swab test (a swab taken through the mouth – similar to a strep test) that is processed by Accurate Labs. Compared to the nasopharyngeal swab, this test is easier to perform and is much less uncomfortable.
For the antibody test, we are using the Abbott Diagnostics IgG antibody test, being processed through Quest Labs – This test has very strong early data.
4. Context Matters
Any test result by itself can be difficult to understand. It’s important for a medical professional to take a full COVID history, including assessing past and present symptoms, past exposure, and risk factors such as chronic medical conditions. This detailed history will give us the necessary context to interpret the test results and give the best recommendations going forward.
5. Let a Professional Help you Interpret your Results
Choose a testing center that allows licensed health professionals to communicate clearly to you what the results mean. They should also help you make a specific plan about returning to work or how you should come out of quarantine if you are able to.
As a Medical Professional, I can tell you honestly that at this stage of the pandemic, there are limited conclusions that we can draw from test results. Past or present COVID exposure does not necessarily lead to immunity. A positive COVID antibody test with a negative swab test does not mean that you are ready to go back to your regular life again, as much as I wish it does. It’s important to be able to ask a licensed professional all the questions you have about what the results mean in order to use the results to your advantage without drawing any false conclusions.
Use the button below or the ‘Make an Appointment’ button at the top of this page to book an appointment for testing today!