Covid Testing Update

Dear Discover Health Members,

We hope this email finds you and your family well and want to take this opportunity to go over COVID testing provided by our practice. While Discover Health currently offers multiple testing options; this email explains how we determine which test is the best fit for each patient. As always, please feel free to reach out to your doctor to discuss directly if you have any questions. 

  1. Rapid antigen testing: Currently, rapid testing is not the most accurate way to find COVID in asymptomatic patients. Rapid antigen testing has a much higher rate of false negatives than the PCR test (the one that takes a couple of days to come back) in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients. Rapid testing is accurate for sick people because there is a higher viral load – high enough to cause symptoms. This test does not pick up a low viral load, such as for a healthy person who may have been exposed to COVID but isn't showing any symptoms. For this reason, expert recommendations are to use rapid testing for sick patients and not as a screening tool. We know that private for-profit groups like Go Health and Carbon Health offer rapid testing for all who request it, however we have chosen to follow the same guidelines used by hospitals and public health care clinics. We don’t think it is acceptable to offer testing that is likely a false reassurance in asymptomatic patients. In addition, we are allocated a very specific number of rapid tests each month. Because of this, we have to be judicious in our use of the test so that if you or somebody in your family falls ill, we will always have a rapid test available for them.
  2. PCR testing: In contrast, PCR testing can pick up a low viral load, so it's much better at detecting COVID in people with few or no symptoms. The issue with PCR is that it requires a longer turn-around time. We have a few PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing options, including one that can have a 24- hour turn-around time, if we get the test done in the morning (Monday to Friday) and sent with a courier to the lab. We also have a less invasive anterior nasal swab option through LabCorp that takes 2-3 business days to come back.

In good health,
The Discover Health Team

Discover Health

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