What is PCR COVID testing?
Polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is a molecular test used for the diagnosis of COVID-19 infections. It comes under the category of diagnostic tests, and it’s performed to check whether a person is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In this type of test, a sample is obtained from a person’s nose. The sample is replicated multiple times so that a detectable amount of virus, if present, is gathered. This test is considered to be very accurate and reliable.
The test is primarily used to check for active coronavirus infections.
This test is used to screen individuals to decide whether they need to self-isolate or not. This test may be used to direct treatment decisions, although it cannot independently determine the severity of infection.
The procedure for PCR COVID testing starts with obtaining a specimen from the patient’s nose using a nasal swab.
Once the sample is obtained, it is then sent to an outside lab, where those specimens are fed to a PCR machine. This machine can generate millions of copies of that specimen within a very short duration of time. If the specimen contains specific viral genome sequences, it interprets the results as positive. The results of this test are further explained below.
If antigens to the COVID-19 virus are detected in the specimen, the result will be interpreted as positive. COVID-19 testing can be positive even if a patient is asymptomatic.
PCR testing can produce false-positive results due to the presence of some other viruses in the specimen. In that case, the results are referred to as false positives. These cases are extremely rare. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” of COVID-19 testing.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
Whenever you notice symptoms of COVID-19 such as sore throat, cough, loss of taste or smell, or fever, you should get tested to rule out infection. This will help guide treatment and reduce the spread of the disease.
PCR COVID test is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.