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COVID Testing – Rapid vs Standard

July 22nd, 2020

Being asked by an employer to stay at home and get tested for COVID can be a scary thing. Many things race through your mind causing immediate anxiety like: “Do I have COVID?” “Am I going to get fired?” “How long will I be out of work if I get a positive result?” What most people are not preparing for is how long will it take to get the results back. 

That’s where my family member found herself. She developed a sinus infection and both her and the employer followed the health recommendations. As a result, she spent the next two weeks at home waiting for test results to come back. At first, it was a 3-5 day wait…possibly 6 days at the most. As she called her clinic, they quickly pushed it to 7-10 days but should hear any moment. At this point, she decided to look at a different option to get tested and went to a clinic promoting a rapid test. What had taken the first clinic over 10 days at this point took her a total of 2 hours. The test came back negative and her doctor called in some medicine to treat a sinus infection. Later that night her original test came back too, also negative, and she was able to take a huge sigh of relief. So, what’s the big deal between the two? Some percentage points and an FDA approved marking. 

The clinic performing rapid testing uses the SOFIA 2 SARS FIA. It has been given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA but has not gone through the same type of review as the preferred 3-14 day method. It’s warning is for being only 96.7% accurate because it can produce a false negative and recommends the doctor determining if further tests need to be done.

What should you do? Well, I can’t answer that. It’s important to know your options and make a decision that both you and your employer are comfortable with. The rapid results in this case put her at ease and allowed her to not miss out on a much needed vacation.

 

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