COVID 19 Testing: What is a COVID PCR or Molecular Test?

The only way to know if you have been infected by the novel coronavirus is to get tested. COVID-19 testing can be a scary and confusing process because there are various types of tests with different results. The two main types of tests are those for current infection and those for a past infection. 

A PCR (also known as a molecular test) is the type of COVID 19 testing that is meant to determine current infection. So what is it and how does it work? 

We have compiled answers about how the entire process works to help ease your nerves and ensure you are educated on what you will be facing during testing. 

What is a PCR Test?

PCR stands for a polymerase chain reaction. These types of tests are done in order to detect genetic material from a specific organism — in this case, COVID-19. If you are infected at the time of the test, it will be able to detect it. In some cases, it can also detect fragments of the virus after you are no longer infected. If you believe that is the case, wait a few days before testing again. The PCR test is the most accurate and reliable test available at the moment. 

Who Should Get COVID 19 Testing?

Choosing or needing to get tested is not easy and can be scary as the result can upend your life. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 such as:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste
  • loss of smell

You should be tested immediately. Anyone who has been around someone who has tested for the Coronavirus for over 15 minutes and within six feet should also be tested. This means if one of your coworkers tested positive and you have been within six feet of them over the two days prior to their test you need to make an appointment to be tested.

How Does COVID 19 Testing Work?

There are three steps that go into a PCR test. The first being a sample collection. 

There will be a swab that is inserted into your nose, that is then sent to a lab for testing. The second step happens at the lab, where the laboratory technician will extract genetic material from the sample. They will then use a thermal cycler looking for a specific reaction. Once the PCR machine gives a signal, you will have a positive or negative conclusion, and you will then have access to the results.

Where Can I Get COVID 19 Testing?

COVID-19 tests are becoming more accessible to the public. There are designated testing sites such as stadiums and other large venues. Pharmacies are also beginning to carry out testing as some doctors’ offices have also gotten access to testing kits. You will need to make appointments for any testing site and many are drive-thrus. 

But if you are looking to get COVID 19 testing done efficiently, visit our website to see where one of our nearest locations is for you. With our professional services and care, you can trust that you will be in good hands.