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Facts about 2 types of COVID-19 tests

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Testing for COVID-19 has been a hot topic since the pandemic began. There are currently two types of approved tests available to people in Lorain County to see if someone has an active COVID-19 infection.

  1. Antigen tests: these tests are sometimes marketed as “rapid” COVID-19 tests. These tests are often misrepresented as diagnostic tests. Instead, these tests are best used for screening purposes. If someone has a positive antigen test, the next best step is to receive a PCR test. Antigen tests are currently being used by the Walk-In Urgent Care clinics in Lorain, Elyria, and Avon.
  2. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are more accurate then antigen tests, so they are considered diagnostic. People who test positive with a PCR test, are counted as confirmed COVID-19 cases. PCR tests are currently being used by the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Mercy Health, Lorain County Health and Dentistry, Rite Aid, and CVS

Lorain County Public Health is notified of both positive antigen tests, and positive PCR tests. If you test positive with an antigen test, you will receive a letter in the mail from us with instructions. You will not receive a phone call because you are not a confirmed positive case. We recommend that you self-isolate until you can get a PCR test whether you have symptoms or not.

If you have symptoms, return to regular activities when:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first started, AND
  • You have not had a fever (without the use of fever reducing medications) for at least 24 hours, AND
  • You’ve had improvement in symptoms for 3 days (72 hours).

If any members of your household or close contacts begin showing symptoms, they should also self-isolate and seek a PCR test.