Accuracy of COVID-19 Testing

Accuracy of COVID-19 Testing

I FOUND A FACILITY THAT CAN TEST FOR COVID-19 AND GET RESULTS IN 15 MINUTES! Will it be accurate? The answer is NO!!!


At Wildflower Pediatrics, we continue to stay up to date on the latest recommendations on COVID-19 management, treatment, and testing. We want nothing more than to obtain and purchase an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved test that is accurate, affordable, and can offer results in less than 15 minutes. For the time being, that test does not exist. Unfortunately, there are facilities offering these rapid turnaround tests (Antigen testing) and may be charging 3 times the cost. In addition, these tests only offer approximately 85% accuracy. That means almost 15% percent of the time, providers are unsure if a patient does or does not have COVID-19. That creates unnecessary confusion for our providers, families, and staff.


The good news is that there are PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests for COVID-19 that are FDA approved and accurate. We are able to swab our patients for this kind of test and send them to an outside lab. The turnaround time for these tests for our practice is usually 1 day. At times it can take 2-3 days to get the results back if there has been a surge in testing and the lab gets back logged which has been rare these days. The costs for these tests are submitted to your insurance and are typically considered a covered cost or may go towards your deductible. So if you find yourself wanting to drive through a mobile testing site, make sure it’s a PCR test!
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends using PCR tests that have been approved by the FDA. Per the AAP, “Most antigen (rapid) tests that have received a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment waiver have limited specificity and sensitivity and should not be used for routine clinical care. In addition, until experts learn more about SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, antibody testing is not routinely recommended and should not be used to make decisions about grouping people in classrooms or other facilities.”


We hope this information helps clarify the ongoing confusion regarding COVID-19 testing. We want to provide the best care possible when it comes to these issues. We have continued to keep our patients and staff safe during these unprecedented times.


Sincerely,

Courtney Dudley, MD

Rachael Lichtenberger, PA