Basic Guide to COVID-19 Testing


       You wake up ready to enjoy your Saturday. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and all seems well. But it’s 2021, and something isn’t right. You feel tired, feverish, and have a sore throat. Covid-19 cases have spiked recently, and you begin to think “Do I have covid?”

     This is a question that many Americans have asked themselves recently, as there appears to be yet another wave of COVID-19 cases. In the event that you suspect Covid, it is best to find out as soon as possible, as the sooner you find out the faster you can take steps to isolate yourself and protect others.

   In order to know for certain, a COVID-19 test is necessary. This might raise a few questions, such as: where does one get a covid test, and what kind of testing is available?

       COVID-19 tests are available in many places, including pharmacies, walk-in clinics, hospitals, and county health departments. The specifics of COVID-19 testing varies from location to location. For example, some locations require an appointment, while others do not.

     These variations can be confusing, so here is a general guide for the Lenoir City area: For CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, an appointment is required. For the majority of walk-in clinics, an appointment is not required. (However, you might have a longer wait time). Walgreens pharmacy and the Loudon County Health Department offer drive-thru testing (appointment only). Test results are usually available on the same day. As for the test itself, expect a simple swab in each nostril.

        If you are unable to make an appointment or visit a walk-in clinic, it is possible to purchase a self-test kit, which can be used at home. Such kits are available at Walmart and CVS Pharmacy. You can also order them online.

      There are two major types of at-home test: The PCR test and the Rapid Antigen Test. The PCR test is sent to a lab for analysis, and generally yields results one to two days after being received by the lab. These are considered the most reliable at-home tests.

     For a more rapid result, try a Rapid Antigen Test, which can be both performed and analyzed at home, yielding results in about 15 minutes. Rapid Antigen tests are for individuals currently experiencing symptoms, while PCR tests can be used even if you feel normal.

  So the next time you begin to wonder: “Do I have covid?” Simply tap into the various testing resources locally available, and find out for certain.