COVID-19 AND TESTING
IN LA COUNTY
Know about different testing methods for Covid-19 and where to go for testing in the LA County
With the Coronavirus infection rapidly spreading through the world, if you fall sick, you might
wonder whether it’s a Covid-19 infection. Testing and/or diagnosis by a practicing medical
professional can tell you whether you have contracted the virus.
What is Covid testing?
Covid Testing can tell if you are infected with the Coronavirus. It also can determine whether you are an active carrier of the virus and can pass it on to others who come in contact with you.
Two types of tests are available:
- Molecular tests can detect whether you have an active Coronavirus infection.
- Antibody tests can determine whether you have been previously infected by the Coronavirus.
|Test||Type of Test||Sample used for testing||Positive Test Result means||Negative Test Result means|
|PCR||Diagnostic||Swab from mouth, nose, or throat||You have an active Covid infection at the time of taking the sample||You do not have an active Covid infection at the time taking the sample|
|Antigen||Diagnostic||Swab from nose or throat||You have an active Ccovid infection at the time of taking the sample||You do not have an active Covid infection at the time of taking the sample|
|Antibody||Antibody||Blood sample||You have been exposed to the virus and have developed the antibodies||You have not been infected with the Coronavirus previously|
Testing in LA County
Residents of the LA County, who wish to or require to be tested, should first contact their healthcare provider. If the healthcare provider cannot make the test available, there are several centers available throughout LA County where the Covid testing is performed.
You can Check Here to locate a center near you. You need an appointment to get yourself tested. There are drive-up as well as walk-in sites available for testing. If you choose a drive-up site, your sample will be collected while you are seated inside your vehicle.
Also, these tests are performed at no cost regardless of your immigration status and insurance. However, if you have insurance, you should give the details at the time of testing so that the testing center can bill your insurance and get the cost of testing reimbursed.
LA County Home Test Collection Program
The LA County Home Test Collection is a pilot program with Fulgent Genetics that allows you to sign up to have a COVID-19 test shipped to your home. This is the same test offered at County testing sites. The sample is collected using a nasal swab. Learn More
Molecular Test or Swab Test
Testing Method: For the molecular test, the RT-PCR testing method is generally used. The test sample is collected from the mouth or the nose. A 6-inch cotton swab is inserted up each of your nostrils and/or the throat and moved around to collect the sample. This sample is then tested in the lab. A positive test result means you have a Covid-19 infection. A negative test result implies you are not infected by the Coronavirus at the time of testing.
While the test does not hurt, it can be somewhat uncomfortable when the swab is inserted. However, it is only temporary.
Antibody Test or Serology Test
Testing Method: For the Antibody test, a blood sample is taken and sent for lab testing. The test looks for the presence of antibodies in the blood.
When you have a viral infection, your immune system produces antibodies to fight the infection. Antibody or Serology tests look for antibodies in your blood. There are two types of antibodies that the Covid-19 Antibody Test looks for:
- IgM – This is usually the first antibody produced by the body as a response to the Covid-19 infection. The presence of IgM can mean that you have recently been infected by the virus. You can still be an active carrier of the virus at this point.
- IgG – This antibody is usually developed7 to 10 days after the first symptoms of the virus appear. The antibodies remain in the blood even after the infection has passed.
Pre-requisite for Testing
No pre-requisite or preparation is needed before going in for the testing. Anyone with or without symptoms can get themselves tested without a doctor’s note.
- It is advised that you do not smoke, vape, or consume anything 1 hour prior to your scheduled appointment for the test.
- Please bring your appointment confirmation with you.
- Wear a mask/face covering while coming for the testing appointment.
- If you are above 18 years of age, carry some type of personal identification with you.
Typically, it takes between 1 and 3 days to get the results of your test. You will receive your test results via email or will be notified through a text, a phone call, or in some cases, mail.
If you don’t receive your results, you can call or email the testing center where your sample was taken. Here are the contact details of the testing centers in the LA County
Who should test for Covid?
The below people should get a Covid Test done:
- Persons who are experiencing Covid or flu-like symptoms
- Persons who have come in contact with someone infected with Covid
- Persons advised by their doctor to get a Covid test done.
- Persons who come in frequent contact with the public, such as those working in healthcare, public transportation, emergency services, food and grocery services, factory workers, etc.
Persons recovered from Covid-19 can get the tests done to ensure the virus is no longer active in their bodies and to also determine the presence of the antibodies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the testing 100% accurate?
The testing is not 100% accurate. If you have symptoms or have come in contact with a person
infected with Covid, repeat the test after consulting your doctor.
Does the testing tell you whether you are immune to Covid infection?
No. The test results only tell that you are not infected with the Coronavirus at the time of testing.
Does the testing guarantee protection from further Covid infection?
No. The testing does not guarantee protection from the virus. You can still contract the virus at a later point and become an active carrier of the virus.
Is Covid Testing the only way to ascertain Covid infection?
No. Since the test is not 100% accurate, your doctor can determine whether you are infected with the Coronavirus from your symptoms or through other diagnostics such as a CT scan of the chest.
Do you need to present a negative test certificate before you join back to work?
No. You are not required to submit a negative test report in order to return to work. However, if you have been infected with the virus at some point, your healthcare provider might be able to advise whether the virus in your body is still contagious and when it might be safe for you to return to work.
Is it mandatory to get an appointment for testing?
There are certain testing centers that allow walk-ins. However, to reduce wait times and to make sure that testing centers have enough supplies for testing, it is advised that you sign-up for a test by locating a center near you here. Residents of the LA County who are not able to get an appointment by visiting the link can call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator who can help you with an appointment.