FAQs about Covid-19 Tests
We use four different RNA tests.
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 13 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. 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.
Physicians Lab (24-36 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. If Physician’s Lab becomes overwhelmed occasionally their tests may take 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: (Will Only Test Special Populations. Turn Around Time is Usually 24 hours)
Our fourth option is ONLY for:
- Healthcare workers
- Public Safety/First Responders (EMS, law enforcement, firefighters)
- Residents and staff at nursing homes
- Residents and staff at group homes, homeless shelters, and daycare facilities
- Individuals who are 65 years old and older, and anyone with underlying conditions
NPHL also runs an RNA test for strains of Covid-19. NPHL is used when a 24-48 hour turnaround time is important. For more information on the patients NPHL accepts testing for, please visit their website at: http://www.nphl.org 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.
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 are beginning to come into the market. While they are more cost effective in detecting early infection, the confidence intervals so far make them a less desirable option. We are hopeful in the near future these will quickly improve and be available just like a simple strep test. More to come on that. If you want to learn more about the challenges of testing and the different types of testing, please watch our video “Challenges of Covid Testing” on the right side of this page. Manufacturers are not releasing their data on the accuracy of these tests yet so we cannot comment on their potential benefit. We were hopeful about antibody testing only to be sorely disappointed. We are cautiously optimistic about antigen 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.