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Last Updated: November 12, 2020
 

SMG currently offers COVID tests based on clinical priorities.  In order to minimize delays in care of those who need it most, testing is available based on clinical priority.  Please see below for details.

For assistance determining your priority level please call 908-273-4300 and press 1 to speak with a Triage Nurse.

VIRAL TESTING FAQ


What are the different types of viral testing?

Viral tests look for various portions of the SARS-CoV2 virus which causes COVID-19. Most tests are either Antigen or PCR tests.


What is the difference between a COVID-19 Antigen and PCR test?

A COVID-19 viral test is used to detect the presence of virus in a patient’s nose, mouth, or throat. There are two types of viral tests:

  • Antigen test – detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Many antigen tests can be performed at the point-of-care with results available within 15 minutes. 
  • PCR test – a molecular test that detects the virus’s genetic material.  PCR tests usually have a higher level of accuracy but often need to be sent to the lab for processing

If you are in need of a viral PCR (molecular) test and are asymptomatic, please visit your nearest CityMD location.


Who should get a viral test?

  • High Clinical Priority: Persons with symptoms
    • It is most important for patients who have symptoms of possible COVID-19 such as fevers, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of taste and loss of smell to get evaluated and tested
  • Intermediate Clinical Priority: Asymptomatic persons with a close contact
    • People who have had a close exposure to someone with COVID-19 but do not have symptoms must quarantine for 14 days regardless of testing.
    • There is no benefit to being tested immediately after exposure as the test will not turn positive immediately.
    • If an asymptomatic, exposed person would like to be tested it is best to have the test at least 5 days after exposure to maximize accuracy of the test
    • People without symptoms will be tested based on available testing capacity
  • Low Clinical Priority: People without symptoms or contact who need a documented negative test:
    • Return to school
    • Return to work
    • Want to know their status so they can visit loved ones
    • Recently traveled
    • Required for travel


​​Where can I get a viral test?

Close contact is defined as being within six  feet of a person with COVID-19 for more than a total of 15 minutes in any 24-hour period

 

Where can I get a viral test?

If you are experiencing symptoms you should be evaluated for active infection. Please visit a Summit Medical Group Urgent Care or CityMD location for evaluation and possible testing.

If you have no symptoms but had close contact with a person with known COVID-19, immediate testing will be of limited value.  If you would like to get tested, you should wait at least 5 days to improve accuracy of the test. Regardless of test results, any person who has had close contact should isolate in their home for 14 days.

If you have no symptoms but need a test for work, school or travel, call the Summit Medical Group at 908-273-4300 to schedule an appointment at our testing center.  Please note that there is limited availably for appointments, so this option is only for established Summit Medical Group patients. 

 

How is the viral test conducted?

After a brief evaluation by a provider, a sample is collected from the nose using a swab and then tested for presence of virus particles.

 

What does it mean if I receive a positive test result?

If you receive a positive test result, it means that COVID-19 virus particles were detected in your sample. It is likely that you have COVID-19 and you should self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus to others.

There is a very small chance that this test can give a positive result that is incorrect (a false positive result) for several reasons:

  • You may have recovered from the illness but are still shedding particles from dead virus
  • You may have an infection with a different coronavirus, such as the ones that cause common colds

Interpretation of test results and how to best care for yourself should be based on your test results along with your medical history and symptoms in partnership with your health care provider.

 

What does it mean if I receive a negative test result?

A negative test result means that the COVID-19 virus was not found in your sample and you most likely do not have an active infection.

There is a small chance this test can give a negative result that is incorrect (a false negative result) for several reasons:

  • You may be carrying the virus, but it was not detected in your secretions yet. This is called being in the incubation period.
  • The sample did not collect enough secretions to detect the virus.

Your test result, together with all other aspects of your medical history and symptoms, should be used in deciding how to care for yourself in partnership with your health care provider. As noted above persons who have had close contact with anyone with COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days even if their test is negative, as it may take up to two weeks for the test to turn positive.

 

What platform do you use for the antigen test and how accurate is it?

SMG uses the Quidel Sofia and the BD Veritor COVID-19 viral antigen tests. According to the manufacturer’s data submitted to the FDA, the tests have a negative predictive value (chances that a negative test truly means virus is not present in the sample) of 98-100% and positive predictive value (chances that a positive test truly means virus is present in the sample) of 83-99%.

Based on the clinical situation, a PCR test may be sent to the lab for confirmation of the results.  We use a variety of platforms for PCR testing. The sensitivity and specificity of these tests vary but are all above 90%.

 

Have the tests been evaluated by the FDA?

All platforms used by SMG and CityMD have emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for use in detection of COVID-19 infection based on performance data submitted by the manufacturer.