A year into the largest vaccine rollout in history, the current phase of the Covid-19 pandemic may seem eerily familiar: rising cases, a new variant of the virus, and the looming specter of a winter surge.
the rise of variants like omicron stands to erode that shield further. This leaves even vaccinated people at risk of contracting the virus, sometimes without any symptoms, and potentially spreading it to others. Most of these breakthrough infections have been mild, but some vaccinated people have fallen ill and even died from Covid-19.
Testing guidelines can be confusing, and they have changed over time, particularly for people who are vaccinated.
They all agreed that as the omicron variant shows up in more countries and US states, testing remains critical for finding Covid-19 cases. Not only can a positive test tell you when to isolate yourself from others, but it can also help you warn others who may have been exposed, and it can even help scientists catch the next coronavirus variant.
When and how often should you get tested for Covid-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tweaking its guidelines for testing throughout the pandemic, and recently added more details about Covid-19 testing for travelers. If you want to travel internationally, you’ll likely need to test negative right before you return to the US.
The type of test
If you are concerned about an active coronavirus infection, it’s key that you take a test that looks for the virus — for example, a rapid antigen test or a PCR test.
To catch potential infections early, Rapid antigen tests take only 15 minutes you get results immediately, they’re actionable,” said Greninger.
That said, rapid tests aren’t as accurate as tests that amplify genetic material from the virus, like PCR tests. These genetic tests are very accurate and can detect low levels of the virus, but they can be expensive and they must be processed at laboratories, so it can take days to get results. They’re useful for confirming Covid-19 cases of catching infections in very early stages when the virus is still at low levels.
When to get tested
For the general public, one of the most critical times to get tested is when you start exhibiting symptoms: fever, chills, a runny nose, a loss of taste or smell. That’s true regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.
Without symptoms, it’s worth getting tested if you have been exposed to someone who may have been carrying the virus. Vaccinated people should get tested five to seven days after exposure, while unvaccinated people should get tested right away and follow up with another test five to seven days later, according to the CDC.
If you test negative but still have symptoms of Covid-19, your initial test could have been a false negative — particularly if the negative test was a less-accurate rapid test. The CDC recommends continuing to isolate from others and contacting a health care provider to monitor symptoms, and possibly to conduct another test.
What to do if your Covid-19 test is positive
If a rapid test is positive, the individual should isolate, follow up with a more robust genetic test like PCR, and consult a health care professional if they need medical attention. The earlier you catch an infection, the better: A doctor can give you Covid-19 treatments if the virus is detected quickly. Many treatments are less effective in the late stages of infection.
If you looking for a covid test facility near Schaumburg, Rapid Screening LLC also known as Free Covid Testing in Schaumburg provides free Rapid and free rt PCR testing. We’re open 7 days, 9 am – 6 pm.
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