Prime Urgent Care is committed to providing COVID-19 testing for patients in the Pearland, TX area. Here is pertinent information about COVID-19 testing. During your visit with our Provider, they can also guide you to the correct type of test for you and answer any additional questions you may have.
Insurance companies are no longer waiving visit fees for COVID visits. Patients do not have to pay for the test but do have to pay for the visit. Please note we will be collecting copays and deductibles for COVID visits.
What are the types of COVID-19 tests?
COVID-19 can be detected either via serologic tests, which is done using a blood sample, or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that involves taking a nasopharyngeal swab sample. Both look for different indicators to reflect a past or current infection.
Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing or the exposure that you have had, the following are the types of tests we offer at Prime Urgent Care:
- Antibody test – The immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody test is useful to rule out any exposure that you may have had in the past few weeks. Done via a simple blood sample, results can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 day, depending on the facilities of the lab. These tests are also known as serological tests as they detect any antibodies that the body’s immune system has produced in response to an infection. It is important to keep in mind that this test only looks for and detects antibodies, which means that it cannot detect the presence of a current infection.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test – This test detects the genetic information of the virus. It is also known as RT-PCR, LAMP test, diagnostic test, nucleic acid amplification test among others. In most cases, the sample is collected via a nasal or throat swab, and in some via a saliva sample as well. This is said to be the most accurate of the tests; however, it can only detect current infections. Depending on the lab facilities, the results are ready anywhere between a day and 7 days. This test is considered to be the most accurate, with no repeat tests being required.
- Rapid antigen test – Unlike the antibody test, this test looks for the presence of antigens. Antigens or the viral RNA are a good marker to indicate the presence of the virus even in the early stages. While this test can be easily scaled to the mass population, the results are not always very accurate. These tests are performed by collecting nasal or throat swab samples and the results are returned back very quickly (within the hour). Also known as a rapid diagnostic test, these tests look for viral proteins in the body. These tests are also the most used when a community spread is suspected. However, the rates of false positives are quite high in this case and physicians recommend that a negative result is also calibrated with an RT-PCR test.
Saliva samples can also be taken as an alternative to swab tests if the patient is not comfortable with being close in contact with the technician.
What are the considerations for who should get tested?
As a rule of a thumb, even if you are asymptomatic, a test will need to be done if you have:
- interacted with anyone (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) who has gone on to test positive for the virus
- had any recent travel – both domestic and international
- attended any large gathering
Beyond this, understanding when to get a test done will depend on the symptoms that you are experiencing. However, with several of the symptoms closely resembling those of a common cold, cough, or flu, it can be confusing. Our Providers at Prime Urgent Care can help guide you to the correct test based on your symptoms and/or type of exposure and answer any additional questions during your appointment.
We recommend contacting the medical care providers at Prime Urgent Care if you are experining the following symptoms:
- dry cough
- loss of taste, smell, speech or movement
- shortness of breath
- pain in the chest
- persistently high temperature
- joint pains
- redness in the eyes
Additionally, those above the ages of 60 and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, heart ailments, cancer, and lung disorders automatically fall under a high-risk bracket.
In such a scenario, contact your medical care provider at Prime Urgent Care immediately. Call us at 713-340-3111.
How do I get Covid-19 testing at Prime Urgent Care?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your medical care provider at Prime Urgent Care at 713-340-3111.
In order to ensure social distancing at all times to maintain the maximum protocols, the first step to getting a COVID-19 test is facilitated via telemedicine. Click here if you want to start off your telemedicine visit right away. https://primeuc.com/services/telemedicine-visits/
Once you register your details and a specific date and time is allotted to you, ensure that you drive to the back of the clinic and stay in your car. A trained technician will come to your car to collect the sample.
What will the results tell me?
There is no clearly specified gold standard that acts as a benchmark for the test results. In several cases, false negatives and positives are reflected even in the presence or absence of symptoms.
Do note that a negative result does not tell you that you can stop taking precautions or maintaining social distancing norms.
The presence of antibodies is also not an indication that you are now entirely immune to COVID-19; the immunity is known to last for a few months at most.
In case of a negative result with an antigen test, it should be followed up with and calibrated by a molecular test.
Even if an antibody test (test to detect a recent/previous infection) comes back negative, it does not rule out the chances of an active, current infection.
In the case of PCR tests, false negatives can occur. Despite what the results tell you, consult with your medical care provider.
If you have strongly suggestive symptoms yet test negative, follow it up with a consultation with your medical care provider.
Despite what the test results indicate, physicians also look for other markers to decide whether to repeat the test and start the protocol.
How will I be treated if I test positive?
In you test positive and your physician rules it as a mild to moderate infection not requiring urgent care, you will also be asked to monitor your symptoms and vitals including temperature, oxygen levels, and pulse, at regular intervals.
If the load of the virus is found to be high and if there are pre-existing comorbidities, your physician will ask you to admit yourself into a COVID hospital immediately.
What is the process of recovery like?
In case of a mild to moderate infection, recovery happens anywhere before 2 weeks after exposure. If you have shown symptoms of the virus, they can be manifested anywhere between 2 to 14 days of initial exposure. Almost 80% of these cases can be treated at home with regular consultation with the physician.
In the more serious cases, there may be some who require oxygen or need to be in the intensive care unit. In this eventuality, recovery can take approximately 6 weeks.
At times, even post-recovery, some patients may continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue as well as other neurological and respiratory signs. Consult with your physician immediately.
How can I get a COVID-19 antibody test or a diagnostic test?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or suspect an exposure, call your medical care provider at Prime Urgent Care at 713-340-3111. Your physician will begin with a teleconsultation to check for the specifics of your condition before deciding on the test that you need to take.
How much does it cost to get tested for coronavirus disease?
In order to make the tests accessible to each and everyone, the costs of the tests have been kept very nominal. If you have insurance , please call us at 713-340-3111 to get the details.
What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and I cannot get tested?
Do not panic. Stay positive and follow these steps:
- Stay home for 2 weeks after your last contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Watch for a rise in body temperature (100.4◦F), and symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
- Isolate yourself from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
Can I go to work if I received a positive COVID-19 antibody test result?
If you have a positive result on the antibody test, it means that you have had COVID-19 in the immediate past. If you are not experiencing any symptoms currently and have had no exposure, consult with your physician before getting back to work.
Do antibody tests diagnose COVID-19?
No. They only detect antibodies in the body that shows that you have had an infection in the immediate past. For a current infection diagnosis, get a molecular or rapid antigen test.