COVID-19 Testing Information

Last Updated: September 12, 2020

Update: We are currently seeing a 48-72 hour average turnaround time for the COVID-19 PCR results. Please check your patient portal to see your result status.  

CareFirst Urgent Care currently offers two forms of COVID-19 testing at all locations: the PCR (nasopharyngeal swab) test and the Serum Antibody IgG (blood) test. Please read below for more information.

What do these COVID-19 tests detect?

PCR (nasopharyngeal swab): This test will determine whether or not you are actively infected with COVID-19.

Serum Antibody IgG (blood): This test will detect if you've had prior exposure to COVID-19 and have the antibodies associated with the virus. For most viruses, a positive result means that you've had prior exposure to the virus and have some degree of immunity to a future infection. Because COVID-19 is a novel, or new, virus, it's currently unclear whether or not a positive antibody result will provide immunity.

Do I need to make an appointment to receive these tests?

No, we do not accept appointments. COVID-19 testing at all CareFirst Urgent Care locations is walk-in only.

However, we do allow for the option to check-in online. This option allows for a shorter wait time when you arrive at a CareFirst Urgent Care location than if you were to solely walk-in. Information about checking-in online can be found here.

What criteria do I need to meet to receive one of these tests?

PCR (nasopharyngeal swab):  

- If you are actively experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as...

- Fever
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Loss of sense of smell or taste

- You are a healthcare worker, first responder
- If your employer requires a negative test to demonstrate you are not actively carrying the virus.
- If you had tested positive for COVID-19 and want to see if you are no longer actively carrying the virus.
- If you believe you have recently (within the past 14 days) come in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Serum Antibody IgG (antibody):  

– If you previously had COVID-19 symptoms (Fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, body aches) and have recovered after 14 days.
– If you received a positive test result for COVID-19 and have recovered after 14 days.
– If you believe you have come in contact with someone who had the COVID-19 virus.

 

How long does it take to receive results and where do I view them?

PCR (nasopharyngeal swab):  

We are currently seeing a 48-72 hour average turnaround time for the COVID-19 PCR tests. Please check your result status on our lab portal here.

When you are at one of our CareFirst Urgent Care locations, a staff member will show you how to quickly register an account with our lab. Once you've registered, the lab will send you an email to notify you that the results are available. You will log in and will see the lab report with your PCR (nasopharyngeal swab) test results.

Serum Antibody IgG (antibody):  

Due to a national increase in laboratory testing demands, please allow a minimum of 3 days to receive results.

When your Serum Antibody IgG (antibody) test results are finalized, you will receive a call from a CareFirst Urgent Care employee and be notified of the result. If you require a hard copy of those results, please notify the employee that you will either come to a location to obtain a printed copy or provide a fax number for the employee to send the results.

 

What platform do you use for testing?

Our PCR (nasopharyngeal swab) tests and Serum Antibody IgG (blood) tests are sent to our commercial lab partners.

For the PCR (nasopharyngeal swab) test, our lab partner uses a proprietary testing platform or the Thermo Fischer Assay, both of which have been granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA.

For the Serum Antibody IgG tests, our lab partner uses the Abbott Architect platform, the EUROIMMUN platform, the Roche platform, or the Hologic platform, all of which have been granted an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

 

What locations can I visit for these COVID-19 tests?

All CareFirst Urgent Care locations offer these two tests. To find the closest CareFirst Urgent Care location, please click here.

 

How much do these tests cost?

Per federal guidelines, CareFirst Urgent Care does not collect a copay for these tests when using insurance. We also do not bill for the lab testing and inquiries regarding any lab bills should be discussed directly with the lab partner.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your insurance company to ensure that they cover the cost of the tests.

For those without insurance, the cost of these two tests is $100 per visit. We do not bill for the lab tests, and any concerns about lab bills should be discussed directly with the lab partner.

 

Should I take any precautions based on my results?

PCR (nasopharyngeal swab):  

– Negative: We suggest continuing to utilize social distancing, quarantining, frequent and thorough hand washing, wearing a mask or face cloth in public, and all other CDC recommended guidelines.

– Positive: Stay home, quarantine yourself from others, monitor your symptoms, and call 911 if you have an emergency.

Serum Antibody IgG (blood):  

Regardless of your results, you should continue to practice social distancing, quarantining, frequent and thorough handwashing, wearing a mask or face cloth in public, and all other CDC recommended guidelines. COVID-19 is a new virus, and it is unclear if a positive antibody result offers immunity.