FAQs about Covid-19 Tests
We use three different RNA tests and one Antigen Test.
In-House (Same Day Turn Around Time): Urgent Care Clinic of Lincoln has partnered with BioFire and is now running in-house Covid-19 RNA testing with same day turnaround. Our test screens all three strains of Covid-19 has a sensitivity of 97.1% and a specificity of 99.3%. This test is tied to our respiratory panel which means we are testing for 18 viruses and 4 bacteria that cause respiratory infections. It is the superior choice for patients who are sick and we need answers quickly. It is also ideal for our surgeons in town who need their patients cleared quickly for surgery. This test is also good for special needs where short turnaround is time-critical. The test takes only one hour to run but please understand our machine runs four tests at a time. If there is a backlog of patients with in house testing, it means it may take several hours for us to call you with results so please be patient. As a rule of thumb, we have been able to call everyone with results the same day by clinic closing time. This test will be billed to your insurance. Please know that insurance companies have been misleading patients. While they may say they pay for this test, this test is not a Covid test but a respiratory panel. They are not the same. Because this is a comprehensive respiratory panel, if you are concerned about insurance and billing, you need to call your insurance company to determine their coverage policy. We do not have access to your insurance plan benefits. While we try to keep the supply of in house tests stocked, please understand that during a national emergency, we may experience temporary shortages and may need to utilize Physician’s Lab, LabCorp, or NPHL as a emergency backup options. How and who we test is strongly dependent upon risk and need and not necessarily at the discretion of the patient to demand in house testing. Because people in Nebraska have not been adherent to mask mandates, we are dealing with positivity rates around 30%. This means nationally this lab has gone on short supply. This also means we reserve the right to not use this test on you if we need to use it for someone who is critically ill.
Physicians Lab (24-72 hour Turn Around Time): For patients who have no symptoms but have been exposed, we are typically sending screening tests to Physician’s Lab. This is a good option for healthy patients and is a good cost effective choice since the test is purely for Covid-19. This test is an RNA test for strains of Covid-19. As soon as the results are posted to us, we will text you with your results. If you need a copy you may go online to your patient portal and download the results. Due to increasing ill, Physician’s Lab is currently giving us results at about 48 hours.
LabCorp: As a backup to Physician’s Lab, we also utilize LabCorp for RNA Covid-19 testing. This is also a good option for healthy patients and is a good cost-effective choice since the test is purely for Covid-19. LabCorp has also had a large surge in testing needs across the United States which is delaying their turnaround time. Currently, results are ranging from 2 – 7 days. For this reason, we do not prefer to use them as a front line testing option. This test is an RNA test for strains of Covid-19. As soon as the results are posted to us, we will text you with your results. If you need a copy you may go online to your patient portal and download the results.
NPHL: (We are no longer using them as they only test on special populations and testing supplies are scarce)
Why We Currently Discourage Antibody Testing
We can and will send Covid-19 antibody tests to LabCorp if you want antibody testing. We discourage this practice at this time because the tests are fraught with problems and errors. The tests do not test for just Covid-19 but ALL strains of coronavirus including the common cold. This means if you have antibodies, you may have simply had the cold. Also, you could actually have Covid-19 but the antibody test could still be negative. Because this test has potential for great error, we believe the morally ethical choice is to not use antibody testing unless there is a specific reason why it should be done. As this test evolves and becomes more accurate, we may include it in our in-house options. But currently, we are not satisfied with the FDA’s approval process of these tests. We believe in accuracy and high quality.
What About The New Antigen Tests?
Antigen Tests have finally arrived. The advantage of an antigen test is it detects illness very early like our current PCR testing. Unlike antibody tests, it is specific to Covid 19. But, the product literature has clearly stated some limitations you must be aware of. First, if the test is positive, the test is positive. However, if the test is negative, they can only predict this with 85% accuracy. Because of this potentially large error rate, the FDA has asked the manufacturer to state in writing if the test is negative, they recommend a follow up PCR test to confirm a negative result. Our concern is having a patient take a single test, test out negative and go back to work or a nursing home and actually be positive. We are well aware that other Urgent Care Clinics are using this method for screening and we do not agree medically with the testing philosophy as it is very misleading to a patient. As we believe in practicing the best medicine possible, we are going to do one of two things if we use an antigen test. We will either have a patient sign an agreement that if the test is negative they agree to us performing a Covid 19 test for send out, or conversely we will insist on serial testing (one test every other day for five days). Either method will ensure that we can state in confidence that you the patient are not contagious. The antigen test is cost effective and less expensive than the PCR respiratory panel (especially if the test is positive). The trade off is potential inconvenience to performing a secondary test or serial testing.
If you have questions about our facilities, please feel free to call us. Our clinic is divided into segments with electrostatic air filters so it is completely safe for you to come in for virus testing, lacerations, x-rays, or other illnesses and injuries. For a complete list of our services, click here.