Ever since the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was identified in China, the whole world has experienced one of the most destructive pandemics it has seen in decades. Halfway through the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, around 3.4 million people have died worldwide out of 165 million confirmed cases. Approximately 17% or 500,000 of those who died are Americans.
COVID-19 is primarily a viral respiratory disease. Infected patients may experience mild, moderate, or severe breathing problems, and the signs and symptoms may develop in 2-14 days after exposure. For this reason, patients who have known exposure to a COVID positive case should isolate themselves for 2 weeks to limit the spread of the virus.
Why is COVID-19 testing necessary?
Did you know that a large percentage of infected patients do not exhibit the symptoms of the disease? A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that asymptomatic transmission can be one of the main reasons for the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The increasing number of different COVID variants emerging in different locations around the world makes testing even more crucial. Some of these variants spread faster, which means that they can infect more people and may lead to a higher number of deaths.
Knowing whether you are exposed or infected will not only help you deal with the disease in its early stage; it can also protect the people you frequently come in contact with. The only sure way for you to find out is by getting a diagnostic test for COVID-19.
Who needs to get a COVID-19 test in Baytown & Crosby, TX?
You have to get a viral test for COVID-19 to determine if you have a current or an active infection. You should also get tested if you:
- Have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Came in close contact with a confirmed COVID positive person
- Participated in large social gatherings
- Stayed in a crowded and poorly ventilated place
- Were advised by your doctor or health care provider to get tested
The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Breathing problems
- Runny or congested nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense of taste and smell
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body malaise
COVID-19 tests available at Urgent Care MDs and Prime Care MDs
We offer two types of viral tests to diagnose current COVID infections: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and rapid antigen test. These two tests are also called diagnostic tests, as they can detect active infections. Both of them are performed through the nasal swab technique.
What is the difference between RT-PCR tests and Rapid tests?
Rapid antigen test
|The sample is taken through||Nasal swab||Nasal swab|
|When can you get the results||Results are available within the day or in 1-3 days||Results are available in 15-30 minutes|
|Will you need a confirmatory test||No. An RT-PCR test has a high accuracy||Maybe. A rapid test may give a false-positive result. An RT-PCR test should confirm a negative result.|
|Limitation||Cannot detect past infection||
Most accurate in the first week since the onset of symptoms.
Cannot detect past infection.
How is a PCR test done?
RT-PCR test is the most accurate and reliable test to diagnose COVID-19. It detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus genetic material in the sample collected. An RT-PRC test has 3 steps:
A sufficient amount of sample is collected from the nasopharynx and the inside of the nostrils using a swab. The sample is carefully secured in a tube and sent to the laboratory.
In the laboratory, the genetic materials present in the sample are isolated.
The genetic material is run through a PCR machine or a thermal scanner. The machine interprets the result as either positive or negative.
How is a Rapid test done?
Rapid antigen test detects the presence of antigens on the surface of the virus. It is most accurate when performed in the first week since the start of the symptoms because this is when the amount of virus in the body is at its highest.
During a rapid test, the sample collector inserts a swab into one nostril, rolls it 5 times to collect an adequate amount of mucus and cells before doing the same to the other nostril.
The sample collected is analyzed and processed in 15 to 30 minutes. If there is a good amount of antigen present in the sample collected, they will bind to the antibodies in the paper strip. Then, the test kit will show a positive sign. If there is no antigen present or the antigen collected is insufficient to trigger a reaction, the test kit will show a negative sign.
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing in Baytown & Crosby
PCR or rapid test: what should you get?
PCR test is the gold standard test to diagnose COVID-19. A rapid test is also accurate as long as you take the test within a week since you started experiencing signs and symptoms. It can also give you a fast result. If you have been experiencing symptoms for more than a week, it is best to choose a PCR test. Rapid tests are also not as accurate when performed too early in the infection stage.
What should I do while waiting for my test results?
While waiting for your results, it is best to isolate yourself from other people to prevent the spread of infection. This is especially true if you are symptomatic.
Do I need to get tested even if I’m already vaccinated?
If you are fully vaccinated, have no signs and symptoms, you do not need to be tested regardless of your exposure. However, if you have been exposed and started experiencing symptoms yourself, you need to be tested and isolate yourself.
Where to get free COVID-19 testing in Baytown & Crosby, TX for the uninsured
Even if you are uninsured, you can get free COVID testing in our Baytown and Crosby Clinics. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has made COVID-19 testing free for everyone in the U.S.
Learn more about COVID-19 Testing in Baytown and Crosby, TX
At UrgentCareMDs, we understand the need of the community for safe and accessible medical care. In order to serve our patients better, we now offer both PCR test and rapid test in the following locations:
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a known COVID case, simply walk-in to get tested. No appointment is needed at this time.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with our doctors in Baytown or Crosby contact us.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.
About Urgentcare Medical Clinics
Urgent care centers provide walk-in, extended hour access for acute illness and injury care that are either beyond the scope or availability of the typical primary care practice or retail clinic. Urgent care centers are however not a replacement for emergency rooms. There are over 8,500 urgent care centers in the US. Urgent care centers have a broader and deeper scope of services than retail clinics, but as described above, they are not equivalent to emergency rooms.