COVID-19 Testing Information
UnityPoint Health is encouraging people to get tested at the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Testing earlier means more treatment options may be available for you. Monoclonal antibody treatment is effective in keeping COVID-19 positive patients out of the hospital, but it needs to be administered early on in the disease. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone experiencing symptoms, call your clinic or provider, practice social distancing and follow the CDC's recommendations for self isolation.
UnityPoint Clinic is asking for our community's help, as we are experiencing extremely high volumes of sick patients and requests for COVID-19 testing. For people who are not sick, and haven't been exposed to COVID-19, but need to be tested for another reason, please consider other testing options in your community such as local pharmacies and public health departments. As always, if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we want to see you as soon as possible—particularly if you are high risk or unvaccinated.
Where should I go for a COVID-19 test?
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19, contact your primary care provider or visit a nearby Express or Express Care location to be evaluated by a medical provider. That provider may order a COVID-19 test based on your symptoms and other factors. This is a much better option than the emergency department. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. You may also reserve your appointment time at Express or Express Care ahead of time.
Should I get tested for COVID-19 outside of UnityPoint Clinic?
Yes, if you are not symptomatic (asymptomatic) and have not had a known exposure to COVID-19.
Does my insurance cover COVID-19 testing outside of UnityPoint Clinic? While many insurance providers cover COVID-19 testing, it's important to check with the location you plan to get tested and your insurance provider for confirmation.
What about COVID-19 testing for travel?
It's important to know what testing requirements are in place before taking a trip. For more on safe travel, check out the CDC travel guide. Some important questions to ask yourself include:
- Is pre and/or post-travel COVID-19 testing required by my airline or destination?
- What type of COVID-19 test do I need?
- How far in advance do I need COVID-19 test results?
- Do I need proof of vaccination or test results?
Do I need to tell my primary care provider if I test positive?
Yes. Log into your MyUnityPoint account to notify your primary care provider, continue to monitor symptoms and follow CDC guidance on isolation.
What different COVID-19 tests are available?
There are two diagnostic tests that identify active COVID-19 infection. A third type of test, an antibody test, works to find evidence you've previously had COVID-19. Generally, if you're asymptomatic an antigen/rapid test is an acceptable approach. If you've developed any COVID-19 symptoms, a Molecular/PCR test is the preferred approach.
Overall, your care provider will determine which test is best for you.
Antigen/Rapid COVID-19 Test
An antigen/rapid COVID-19 test detects proteins produced by the virus. These tests are less sensitive and often less accurate. Antigen tests are performed with nose or throat swabs to search for an active COVID-19 infection.
Molecular/PCR COVID-19 Test
A molecular test includes the rt-PCR test, commonly called PCR test. Molecular tests detect the genetic material that makes up the virus. These tests are very sensitive and often more accurate. Molecular tests look at samples from the nose, saliva, sputum (saliva and mucus) or nasopharyngeal (area right past your nostril) to search for an active COVID-19 infection.
Molecular tests pick up very small fragments of the virus, even beyond the point that someone is contagious or ill, but, perhaps, you are still sheading the virus. That's why you can get a positive test result from a molecular test, even though you might not have an active COVID-19 infection." Dr. Rosa says
Antibody COVID-19 Test
An antibody test does not test for active COVID-19 infection. Instead, an antibody (or serology) test, uses a blood sample to determine if you have developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. If antibodies are identified, it's a sign you might have previously contracted COVID-19.
When do I need to be tested?
The CDC recommends anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Also, most people who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested. For more on testing, rely on additional guidelines from the CDC. If you have questions, please contact your primary care provider.
What should I do while waiting for my test results?
Whether or not you have received your COVID-19 test results, it's important to care for yourself and to protect others in your home and community. If you were tested, it may take up to a few days to get results. Until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result, please stay home except to get emergency medical care. If you get a positive result, you'll likely be able to recover safely at home.
- Monitor your health. If you are getting worse, call ahead to your doctor's office. Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or difficulty arousing, and bluish lips or face. If you have a medical emergency and call 911, advise them you may have COVID-19.
- Self-isolation is recommended for at least 10 days after illness onset and at least 1 day (24 hours) after recovery. Illness onset is the date your symptoms began. Recovery is when you have had no fever, without using fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, have improved.
- Stay at home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis. If you need to leave the house to get medical care, notify your doctor ahead of time and wear a mask.
- Protect your family and close contacts. Separate yourself from other people in your home. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing household utensils and personal items and clean "high touch" surfaces every day.
- If you tested positive, but had no symptoms, isolation can be discontinued once 10 days after the positive test have passed.
- No repeat testing is needed to discontinue isolation and return to usual activities.
- In MyUnityPoint Mobile there is a COVID-19 activity that can be found under the My Record section inside the Menu tab. The COVID-19 activity allows you to see the status of your COVID-19 testing. After the specimen is obtained, your testing status will update. Once the COVID-19 test is resulted, the final status will appear. The COVID-19 activity shows your status for COVID-19 testing and includes a helpful resource section which provides links to the CDC website.
- Once your COVID-19 test results are available, you can access them immediately in your patient portal. Log into your MyUnityPoint account, the final COVID-19 result can be found under the Test Results section.
What if I disagree with my provider's diagnosis or would like to change the diagnosis in my health record?
You do not have the ability to change a health diagnosis from a provider on your health record. If you disagree with a provider diagnosis, you can always seek a second opinion.
What if I disagree with the treatment my provider recommended?
UnityPoint Health has a team of dedicated clinical experts who review the latest research and data surrounding treatment options for various illnesses and disease. If you disagree with the treatment recommended by your provider, you can always a seek a second opinion.
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