Getting Tested

Considerations for who should get tested

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with someone with confirmed COVID-19
  • People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider or local/state health department.

Most public health officials and infectious disease doctors will say that, if you feel you have a reason to be tested, you should be tested.

Where to get tested in Hudson Valley

There are several testing sites in the Hudson Valley area. These sites may use different types of tests which have differing levels of accuracy and wait times for results. They also have different hours of operation,  Some allow walk-ins, other’s require a virtual pre-screening or referral. With all of this complexity in getting a simple test, it is best to consult with your Healthcare provider if possible, to determine which type of test and which site is best for you.  Your Healthcare provider may also be able to expedite your test if they deem it necessary. Below is a link to the Ulster County Health Department’s list of COVID-19 testing sites which is continually updated.

Hudson Valley Health Department Test Site List:

https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/get-tested/

The Ulster County Health Department main site has additional resources available at their COVID-19 Virtual Center: https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/

What Types of Tests Are There?

There are two different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests.

  1. A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests which detect the virus – molecular tests that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
  2. An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection, but instead can be used to determine if you had exposure to the virus in the past.. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future.

Want to get tested for COVID without the hassle of making an appt, waiting on line, etc? Order an at-home test kit from Labcorp: https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/. They’ve made it really easy and it is completely covered by your insurance (or the state if you don’t have insurance) here in New York State by law. You can only order one kit per person at a time but you can repeat as many times as you like. The kits arrive quickly and you FedEx them into the lab and get your results within 48 hours. Getting tested regularly (for free and with no hassle) is a surefire way to keep your family and community safe during the pandemic.

 

COVID Tests: What’s the difference?
Molecular Test *Antigen Test (see note below) Antibody Test
Also known as… Diagnostic test, viral test, molecular test, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), RT-PCR test, LAMP test Rapid diagnostic test

(Some molecular tests are also rapid tests.)

Serological test, serology, blood test, serology test
How the sample is taken… Nasal or throat swab (most tests)     

Saliva (a few tests)

Nasal or throat swab Finger stick or blood draw
How long it takes to get results… Same day (some locations) or up to a week One hour or less Same day (many locations) or 1-3 days
Is another test needed… This test is typically highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated. Positive results are usually highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test. Sometimes a second antibody test is needed for accurate results.
What it shows… Diagnoses active coronavirus infection Diagnoses active coronavirus infection Shows if you’ve been infected in the past
What it can’t do… Show if you ever had COVID-19 or were infected with the coronavirus in the past Definitively rule out active coronavirus infection. Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular tests. Your health care provider may order a molecular test if your antigen test shows a negative result but you have symptoms of COVID-19. Diagnose active coronavirus infection at the time of the test or show that you do not have COVID-19
*As you can see from the chart, a Rapid Antigen Test is fast but less sensitive and may yield a false negative. It would be important for you to follow up with your PCP in case a molecular test is also needed to confirm a negative result if you are experiencing symptoms.Further information on testing can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/coronavirus-testing-basics