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Posted on: January 5, 2022

Media Release COVID-19 - January 05, 2022

For Immediate Release

01/05/2022    

COVID-19 Information

Phone: 980-432-1800
Website: www.rowancountync.gov/COVID-19
Email: covid-19@rowancountync.gov

Vaccine Information

Website: www.rowancountync.gov/COVIDvaccine
Follow Us: www.facebook.com/rowancountyhealth 

Rowan County COVID-19 Case Information: https://bit.ly/rowan-covid19-hub

As COVID Numbers Rise Once Again, Which Test is Best?

At this point in the pandemic, you or someone you know has most likely received at least one COVID-19 test. The two main types of tests that are currently being used to diagnose COVID-19 are the antigen test and PCR test. Each test detects a different part of the virus, and how it works influences the test’s speed and its accuracy. So, what are the differences between these two types of tests?

Rapid antigen tests detect COVID-19 when people have a higher amount of the COVID-19 virus particles in their system and are more contagious. However, a negative rapid antigen test doesn’t necessarily mean you are not contagious. That’s why if someone has COVID-19; but has not yet reached the test's threshold of viral particles, they may still test negative with an antigen test, but then test positive with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. That is why an individual using this type of test should be more skeptical about a negative result, especially if you are having symptoms and/or you know you have been exposed to someone that is positive. In this situation, you should then seek out a PCR test.

PCR tests are far more sensitive than antigen tests. They’re able to detect smaller quantities of the COVID-19 virus and detect them sooner and for a longer amount of time than antigen tests. While PCR tests are considered the gold standard for a COVID-19 diagnosis, a PCR test is not necessary for those individuals who have already tested positive with a rapid antigen test. That's important to know as wait times for PCR tests continue to grow once again due to the increased demand. In short and just to reiterate, any positive test (PCR or antigen) counts as a positive, but a negative antigen test needs to be confirmed with a PCR test.

For those of you interested in having a rapid, at-home antigen test on hand, the following things should be considered as well:

  • If you’re taking an at-home COVID-19 test, consider any positive result to mean you have COVID-19. You don’t need to confirm this with a PCR test. Even if it’s an extremely faint line, you should consider yourself infected and begin to isolate yourself from others.
  •  If you’re unclear about what your test result says, isolate yourself and repeat the test in six to 12 hours. You will likely see a clearer line on the test strip at a later time. 
  • Don’t forget, a negative at-home test is only reliable for eight to 12 hours, and it still doesn’t guarantee you’re COVID-free. You should get a PCR test as soon as possible, especially if you are having symptoms or if you were exposed to a positive person.
  • Even though individuals are not required to report any positive results from a rapid, at-home antigen test, individuals still need to follow the newly adopted isolation guidance from the CDC, which both NC DHHS and Rowan County Public Health are currently following. 

At this time, it is very important that our community realizes that not only are we dealing with a very severe Delta variant, but we also have a very contagious Omicron variant here within our community.  If you have not been vaccinated or you need to get your booster, please visit our website to find out more information on how to schedule an appointment. In addition to this and if you have symptoms and/or if you have been exposed to someone that has COVID-19, please visit our website to find out where you can get tested.

In closing, Rowan County Public Health cannot stress to you enough about the importance of practicing the 3Ws, vaccinated or not, as we are starting to see another uptick in the number of positive cases within our community. Unless we want to see our numbers skyrocket again, we must all be responsible and do what needs to be done.

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PIO Contact:
Amy Smith
704-216-8859
amy.smith@rowancountync.gov

Download Media Release COVID-19 - January 05, 2022 (PDF)

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