If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the virus, the CDC said you should get tested. But what if you can’t access a test right away due to high demand?
“You have to assume you’re positive and take appropriate action accordingly, which is isolate and quarantine until you can access a test and know it’s negative,” said Dr. Neha Vyas, primary care physician for Cleveland Clinic.
Vyas said that if you have the option to choose what kind of COVID-19 test you want to do, she recommends doing the PCR test. It is considered the gold standard and the most reliable.
Rapid tests, such as the ones you do at home, can sometimes give a false negative result. So if you’re not feeling well, but the test said you’re negative, you should retest with a PCR test.
However, Vyas said that if the rapid test comes back positive, it’s usually good.
She knows it can be frustrating waiting for a test, but said information is needed to document.
“It’s helpful to know your COVID status for contact tracing, especially if you’ve been around people who can’t get the vaccine because of their own immunocompromised condition or medical problems,” she said. “Knowing who has COVID and who their contacts are will help us understand and potentially curb the spread of the disease.”
As the Omicron variant continues to spread, Vyas stresses the importance of getting vaccinated and also getting your booster shot. She said that would be your best form of protection.
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