How does rapid testing for COVID-19 work?

Doctor says you should wait at least 3 to 4 days after exposure before getting tested

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Now that more rapid COVID-19 testing sites are opening up, doctors want to make sure people understand exactly how they work. Avecina is one of the first private groups in Jacksonville to offer the tests and has noticed some trends.

There are lots of options for COVID-19 testing but not many that can give you results as fast as Avecina Medical and other rapid testing sites. Avecina checks results in batches and that same day, they’ll send an email or make a phone call confirming your results.

Patients can self pay the $125 or try to get reimbursed through insurance. It’s not free, but it’s fast.

Dr. Saman Soleymani said there’s one type of patient who should wait to be tested.

“We have patients coming in all the time saying that they were exposed yesterday, and we tell them this is not really a good test because even if it comes back negative, it does not really prove anything,” he said. “You should wait at least three to four days later and re-test to be sure.”

Also if the test is positive, he said patience is key. There’s no use coming back until 14 days after a positive result.

“With limited supplies out there, we try not to even test those with short exposure,” Soleymani said. “I have not seen one that’s been positive yet when it’s that short of a time.”

He also said there’s no guarantee that the virus will be out of your system in 14 days and that’s why it’s so important to get re-tested.

“It’s not like this virus or anything expires on the 13th day. We have patients who test positive 40 days out, so the 14 day is the number that would encompass about 80 to 90% of the population,” Soleymani said. “People need to get back to work. They need to earn a living, get back to their normal routine -- that 14 days is a good number that three out of four people, four out of five people who have a healthy immune system -- but there are some patients that six weeks out still test positive.”

Soleymani said it’s advised to get two negative test results before you come out of quarantine after a positive test.

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