Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, besides going through the most harrowing times, one of the most challenging tasks as a nation is getting the COVID Testing done. As months have now passed, we are fortunate enough to have access to various testing methods. Through this article, let us discuss in detail the importance of accurate testing, free COVID testing Los Angeles and the importance of continued testing.
However, before we get into the details it is important to understand two major things that must be taken under consideration in regard to COVID testing. The first is accuracy and the second is speed. There is no denying the fact that we want the results as quickly as possible. But we must not forget that besides the speed, the accuracy of the test is a more important factor to consider.
Importance of Accurate Testing
When we speak of accurate testing, it can be classified into two categories. The first is accuracy. When the test is being done, the result must be accurately predicted whether it is positive or negative. Although it may sound quite simple it is more complex than it sounds. Sensitivity and specificity are the two broad terms that determine the correct negative and positive cases. That is to say that,
- A test that is highly sensitive will have an increased correct positive rate
- A test that is highly specific will have an increased correct negative rate
The second is speed. The speed of the test is determined by the type of test that is performed. There are three types of testing methods namely Antigen, Molecular, and Antibody testing.
Why is Continuous Testing Required?
The new world post the pandemic has set new norms for everyone starting from following the very basic preventive measures to continuous testing so as to ensure that we are non-infectious and are fully protected. There are guidelines for employers to encourage free COVID Testing for their employees. Even sports facilities, passengers, stadiums, etc are required to get tested before they are let in. The vaccination rate is decreasing and even those vaccinated are not fully protected from the viral infection, therefore, continued testing and monitoring is the key to restraining the virus from causing further outbreaks.
Covid testing is an integral part of managing the pandemic. However, with the introduction of the Covid vaccines, the majority of people have now gone past the testing and are more interested in the vaccines which is a mistake as claimed by health experts. The most important key to defeating any pandemic or epidemic is testing. Following are the various purposes that Covid-19 testing serves:
- Early detection of the outbreak is possible and helps in getting prepared well in advance.
- The efficacy of the vaccination can be constantly monitored.
- Quick detection of emerging variants of the virus.
- Precautionary Steps For COVID-Positive Patients
It is important to inform the hospitals in advance if there are any positive patients coming in. This will help the hospital in taking adequate and appropriate preventive measures. Vulnerable areas such as schools must take appropriate measures to reduce the spread. Those who have tested positive must be advised to home isolation.
Most health experts and researchers are worried about the decline in the rate of testing. Nevertheless one must always remember the fact that COVID testing will continue to remain an integral part of managing the pandemic. If you think that you were in contact with an infected person or are manifesting COVID symptoms then it is best to get yourself tested. This will help in identifying the level of risk you are in. Also, an early diagnosis will be helpful in staying away from the hospital.
Types of COVID-19 Tests
COVID tests may be classified into two categories namely viral diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Here we will discuss only the viral diagnostic test that helps in the detection of active infection. Under the viral diagnostic tests, there are four forms of Covid test being performed. They are:
- Nose-swab testing: In this test, a shallow nose swab is conducted to collect the sample.
- Nasopharyngeal test: This test involves a deeper nasal swab using the PCR technique for collecting the sample.
- Spit test: This test uses the PCR technique to collect the saliva sample.
- Mouth swab test: this is one of the most innovative ways of COVID testing. It is non-invasive, quick, and easy.
Does the Test Hurt?
The type of test determines its nature. For instance, in the nasopharyngeal swab test, since it goes deep through the nostrils it might cause a certain level of discomfort. But other types of tests are much simpler for the patients. This is the reason why the most recommended form of testing is the mouth swab test as it is easy and quick.
What is the Turnaround Time for the Test Results?
The turnaround time of the test result is also determined by the test. Covid tests such as the antigen nose swab test might take about an hour or so for the results to arrive. But other tests such as the spit test, nasopharyngeal PCR test, and mouth swab test might take about 48 to 72 hours for the results to arrive.