LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Baptist Health Urgent Care now offers the antibody test to inform if a person has already had COVID-19, as well as testing for anyone who has active coronavirus symptoms. The tests are offered at all eight Baptist Health Urgent Care locations in Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Fort Smith, Jacksonville, Little Rock (two centers) and North Little Rock.
“Baptist Health Urgent Care recognizes increased testing is imperative to our community members, as well as businesses,” said Tom Dent, Urgent Team’s CEO and Chairman. “We are dedicated to supporting our communities through this difficult time and providing clarity as to whether a person is currently infected or has been infected by coronavirus. This will help get the economy back on track and our citizens back to work.”
If a person does not have COVID-19 symptoms, but is concerned he or she has previously had COVID-19, Baptist Health Urgent Care can perform a serology test, often called an antibody test. This test, done through a blood draw, checks for the antibodies that develop after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
It is noted by healthcare professionals that antibody testing should not be the sole basis to diagnose or exclude infection. Results are available within 24 hours from the date the lab picks up the specimen.
This test will assist in identifying patients with previous exposure to COVID-19 and who may have developed an immune response. This antibody typically shows up 7-10 days after symptoms. According to the test manufacturer, Diazyme, the test has a specificity rate of 98 percent, with a 91 percent sensitivity accuracy.
If a person is currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, a nasal swab can be performed to indicate whether a person is currently positive. Testing is limited to people who are actively experiencing symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath; have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting test results; are at high risk due to underlying health issues, such as diabetes or a respiratory illness.
The PCR (polymerise chain reaction) test can detect the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. This is present if the virus is in someone who is actively infected. The PCR test detects the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of antibodies.
By detecting viral RNA, which will be in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the test can tell whether someone has the virus very early on.
Results are available within 48 from the date the lab picks up the specimen.
Both tests are offered as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s notification Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pathway that was outlined for COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
Employers that want to test employees before returning to work, please contact your local Baptist Health Urgent Care center to discuss onsite testing.
Individuals who want either type of test should call their local Baptist Health Urgent Care center. The PCR test will be taken either inside the center or inside the patient’s car, depending on conditions. Those who want the antibody test should just walk in, no appointment needed. Any patient who comes to a center for either test, must be evaluated by a provider to determine if testing is necessary. At present, most insurance plans cover the cost of these tests and treatment. Please check with your insurance plan.
All Baptist Health Urgent Care’s locations will offer these two types of tests. For a full list of locations, visit BaptistHealthUrgentCare.net.