COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing
As you likely know, a COVID-19 rapid test could be a game-changer when it comes to quicker and safer coronavirus testing. Being to test more people in a shorter amount of time would improve our ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our local communities. Not to mention, this would also help businesses reopen and stay open.
With that being said, we want to provide important information about the test which is now available at all Priority Urgent Care locations. The Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test is also covered by most insurance plans. We also have self-pay options if you don't have insurance. We are testing anyone that would like to get tested. COVID-19 Testing is by appointment only.
Where Can I Get the Covid Rapid Test Near Me?
Priority Care has been offering PCR swab test (throat and/or nose) coronavirus testing in Maryland for months as part of our ongoing efforts to slow COVID-19. With that being said, we want to stay on the forefront of COVID-19 testing to ensure as many people as possible can be tested in a short amount of time.
This is why the COVID-19 rapid test is now available at all of our urgent care locations throughout Maryland. The point of care test from Quidel will provide results in 15 minutes and will be used along with the observation of one of our healthcare providers to ensure each patient receives the right course of treatment.
The FDA recognized the critical nature of making this test available, which is why it has been given emergency use authorization for special circumstances. When asked about the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA, the FDA said "The antigen diagnostic tests quickly detect fragments of proteins found on or within the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs".
Antigen tests will allow us to test more people per day and help contain the spread of Covid as well as helping businesses stay open and re-open.
Rapid Covid-19 Testing Frequently Asked Questions
What is Sofia Rapid Testing for Covid-19?
The rapid COVID test by Quidel — called the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA — is what is known as an "antigen" test. Designed to detect specific proteins in the body from the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens (nasal swabs), the Quidel test can produce results in as little as 15 minutes.
This test - specifically - has recently been approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA.
What's the difference between an antigen test and other Covid-19 tests?
Antigen tests detect proteins found in the virus that causes COVID-19, unlike other COVID-19 tests. For example: one of the most common tests available are PCR tests (also referred to as molecular tests) which detect genetic material from the virus.
If you were to test negative for COVID-19 after an antigen test, yet still suspect you have the virus, your doctor may recommend a PCR test to help provide clarity. If another test is not available to you, the CDC recommends staying in isolation until you have met all 3 of the following criteria:
- You have NOT had a fever for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Your other symptoms (such as shortness of breath or cough) have noticeably improved.
- A minimum of 7 days have gone by since the beginning of your symptoms.
What are the risks and benefits of the Rapid Test?
Risks are minimal and include:
- Potential discomfort or other complications that may occur during nasal swab sample collection.
- Possible incorrect test results (see below for more information)
The benefits of the rapid COVID-19 test far outweigh the risks, and include:
- The results obtained from your test can help your doctor make informed decisions when it comes to the best course of care.
- The results can help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 to members of your family or others in your local community.
- You'll get results in a shorter amount of time; giving you peace of mind and allowing more people to be tested each day.
What happens if my results come back positive?
If you have a positive test result, it is very likely that you have COVID-19 because proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 were found in your sample. Therefore, it is also likely that you may be placed in isolation to avoid spreading the virus to others. There is a very small chance that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false-positive result). Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test result(s) along with your medical history, and your symptoms.
What happens if my results come back negative?
A negative test result means that proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in your sample. It is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) in some people with COVID-19. This means that you could possibly still have COVID-
19 even though the test is negative. If your test result is negative, your healthcare provider will consider the test result together with all other aspects of your medical history (such as symptoms, possible exposures, and geographical location of places you have recently traveled) in deciding how to care for you. It is important that you work with your healthcare provider to help you understand the next steps you should take.
Is this an FDA approved Covid-19 Rapid Test?
No. This test is not yet approved or cleared by the United States FDA. When there are no FDA-approved or cleared tests available, and other criteria are met, FDA can make tests available under an emergency access mechanism called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The EUA for this test is supported by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for the detection and/or diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19. This EUA will remain in effect (meaning this test can be used) for the duration of the COVID-19 declaration justifying emergency of IVDs, unless it is terminated or revoked by FDA (after which the test may no longer be used).
COVID-19 PCR Viral Testing
Viral Screening for COVID-19 via PCR is for anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and for screening purposes of acute COVID-19 infection and is available at all Priority Urgent Care locations.
All locations will continue to perform nasal swab testing for COVID-19. Please note that this test is only performed by appointment only.
This test is performed via a Nasopharyngeal Swab that is sent to LabCorp for analysis. Test results at this time are now around 2-3 days.
This test is performed in conjunction with an office evaluation, which will include obtaining a medical history, vital signs, and brief physical exam. Subsequently, a Lab order will be generated for COVID-19 testing, and onsite collection will be performed.
You do not need, nor do we accept lab slip orders from outside healthcare providers. We have healthcare providers on site who will order the COVID-19 testing.
More information about testing for the Coronavirus can be found here (cdc.gov).
Coronavirus Antibody Testing
Antibody Testing Overview
Testing to see who has or had the COVID-19 will become one of the most crucial elements for slowing the global pandemic. It could also hold the key to a return to normal.
Individuals who have been asymptomatic for at least 10 days, and who want to know if they have been exposed to COVID-19 without any symptoms, can now take the COVID-19 Antibody Test.
Coronavirus Antibody Tests available at Priority Care
Send-Out Antibody Testing
Beginning Monday, April 27, Priority Care will begin performing COVID-19 antibody (IgG and IgM) testing through our affiliation with LabCorp.
The IgG test from LabCorp is being performed using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay which received FDA EUA approval on April 27th 2020. More information about this test can be found here.
This test will require blood to be collected in our office and sent to LabCorp for testing. LabCorp is anticipating result times to be 1-3 days. This test will be performed in conjunction with an office visit to any one of our four Priority Care Clinics locations.
This test is available for any individual who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but are no longer symptomatic.
This test determines the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 and can help to identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Understanding that if a person has developed the antibodies and the potential immune response can be helpful in the determination of important decisions, such as the ability to return to work.
Test Performance and Accuracy
According to the FDA release on 5/7/2020 regarding test performance, the Abbott IgG Antibody Assay test that we are currently using through LabCorp, has 100% Sensitivity and 99.6% Specificity for COVID. The full FDA release regarding Test Performance and Accuracy can be found here.
Patients are required to have an in-person office medical evaluation with one of our healthcare providers who will then order the appropriate diagnostic lab test for you. This evaluation will be billed to your insurance company through Priority Care Clinics. We have received notification from most of the major insurance carriers that the cost of your office visit, as well as the testing, will be covered. Therefore, at this time, no co-pay will be collected at the time of service for visits related to COVID-19 testing.
Billing for any send-out laboratory testing will be done separately by LabCorp.
According to section Q4 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQ issued on April 11, 2020:
FDA has advised the Departments that serological tests for COVID-19 meet the definition of an in vitro diagnostic product for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 or the diagnosis of COVID-19.14 Therefore, plans and issuers must provide coverage for a serological test for COVID-19 that otherwise meets the requirements of section 6001(a)(1) of the FFCRA, as amended by section 3201 of the CARES Act.
Based on the above language from the Coronavirus Response Act, we believe that most insurance plans will cover the cost of the testing as well as the office visit. However, all insurance companies are different, as are individual plans. We recommend that you contact your insurance carrier to determine coverage prior to your visit. Patients will be responsible for any cost not covered by insurance once the claim has been processed.
Patients without insurance can now have Serology testing performed through LabCorp. Pricing includes the cost of the office evaluation and the antibody test.
$145: Single Antibody Testing - IgG test only
$195: Double Antibody Study - both IgG and IgM will be tested
FAQs for COVID-19 Antibody Tests
What is the COVID-19 Antibody Test?
The COVID-19 Antibody Test is an effective way to evaluate if your body has produced an antibody immune response to exposure COVID-19. It does NOT diagnose COVID-19 nor can the results of this test determine if you care "Immune" to COVID19 (Studies are still ongoing to determine this answer).
While the COVID-19 RNA Viral Test (the typical nasal swab test) will determine the presence of the virus, the COVID-19 Antibody Test only detects the presence of viral exposure by measuring your immune system's antibody response.
Who can get an antibody test?
Patients who are symptom free for at least 10 days, who believe they may have had COVID19 or who think they might have been exposed to COVID19 can be tested to see if they have developed antibodies.
Why wait 10 days?
The 10-day minimum helps ensure maximum sensitivity to the test. If these tests are taken too early after exposure or too early after an illness, they might give a false negative result.
How long do results take?
The results should be back in 24-72 hours.
Does the antibody test diagnose COVID-19?
No. This screens for antibodies, which are a specialized type of a blood protein produced in response to infection. In this case COVID-19.
Is the antibody test where they shove a swab up my nose?
No. This test is a blood test that is collected either through venipuncture (i.e. normal blood drawl) or through a simple finger-prick. Unlike the viral RNA swab test, which can take several days to confirm COVID-19 infection.
What's the goal of the antibody test?
To help determine many people have already been in contact with COVID-19 and have developed an immune response. As we learn more, this information may be helpful to make suggestions about behavior (e.g. continue self-isolation or return to work or school).
Can the antibody test be performed on symptomatic people?
Technically yes, but we do not recommend it. In fact, the test information suggests that symptomatic individuals run the risk of test error.
What do the results tell me?
Positive or Negative IgG/IgM results can indicate recent or past infection and potential immunity, giving you information about how safe it is for you to return to work or school.
What if my antibody tests are negative?
Good question! We're making sure patients are symptom-free for at least10 days before performing this test to ensure maximum sensitivity. If it's negative, it means you likely have not been ill with COVID-19 and have not been exposed to it either.
What if the antibody test is positive?
If the acute antibody (IgM) is positive, then we will recommend you get a nasal swab to confirm your diagnosis. If the long-term antibody (IgG) is positive, then that means you were previously infected or exposed to the coronavirus.
If I am IgG positive, I'm immune?
No, there is no evidence yet that this test means you are immune and will not get the virus. There are still ongoing studies on this, so stay tuned!
More Info About Antibody Testing
Antibody tests for COVID-19 are intended for individuals who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but are no longer symptomatic.
The tests determine the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and can help to identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Understanding if an individual has developed the antibodies and a potential immune response can be useful in the determination of important decisions such as the ability to return to work.
Antibody tests use serum in blood samples from individuals who are being evaluated for COVID-19 infection or have been exposed to the virus. LabCorp offers separate tests for each of the three major classes of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (IgG and IgM).
- IgG turns positive within 7-20 days of infection and tends to persist for over 6-months (likely years).
- IgM turns positive within 7-20 days of infection onset, peaks at 80 days, but unlike IgG typically fades away within 3-6-months.
A positive serologic result indicates that an individual has likely produced an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A negative serologic result indicates that an individual has not developed detectable antibodies at the time of testing. While contingent on a variety of factors, this could be due to testing too early in the course of COVID-19, the absence of exposure to the virus, or the lack of an adequate immune response, which can be due to conditions or treatments that suppress immune function.
Confirmation of infection with SARS-CoV-2 must be made through a combination of clinical evaluation and other applicable tests. Decisions about ongoing monitoring, treatment or return to normal activities for patients being treated for suspected infection with SARS-CoV-2 should also be made in accordance with guidance from public health authorities.
At this time, it is not known if a positive antibody test means you have immunity from getting Coronavirus again.
More information about antibody testing can be found by visiting the CDC's website.
Testing locations in Maryland
COVID-19 Antibody Testing and Viral Screening Locations
White Marsh Clinic
5282 Campbell Blvd.
Nottingham, MD 21236
Severna Park Clinic
550 Ritchie Hwy
Severna Park, MD 21146
3500 Boston St.
Baltimore, MD 21224
3720 Washington Blvd.
Halethorpe, MD 21227
Learn more about COVID-19 testing in the Baltimore area by contacting us or by visiting Maryland's COVID-19 website. Additional resources are available on the CDC's website.