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Covid Testing: What Test Should You Get?

Dr. Siri Akal

TESTING for Covid19

Should you get a PCR or Antibody test?


Get a PCR test -If you are sick and have Covid19 symptoms, if you are traveling and the country or state requires it for entry, or if you think you may have been recently exposed to the virus.


Get an Antibody test- If you want to know if you have potentially been exposed to the virus in the past 2-3 weeks, or to see if you have IgG immunity after a quarantine period, and for travel purposes.


There are presently two types of tests available in the USVI for Covid19 testing:


1) Viral PCR test done by throat or nose swab – these tests are sent to a lab to be processed and can be ready within 48 hours and is the BEST way to know if you are infectious and therefore can spread Covid19 to others. If positive, quarantine and consult your Provider.


2) Antibody test- this is done with a blood draw and results are available within 24 hours. Antibody tests might tell you if you had a past infection. An antibody test might not show if you have a current infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies called Ig M and Ig G.  Having antibodies to the virus that causes Covid19 might provide protection from getting infected with the virus again. If it does, we do not know how much protection the antibodies might provide or how long this protection might last


To simplify Antibody Test results:


IG M positive – means MAYBE and we would suggest that you quarantine for another 10 days or get PCR viral testing


IG G positive - means GONE or GOOD and means you were exposed to Covid19 and your body has created some immunity but its uncertain how long or how effective this immunity is.


Here is a more detailed list of potential Antibody test results:


IgM and IgG both negative: you have not been infected with the virus that causes Covid19 or you have been tested too soon and your body has not produced detectable antibodies yet.


IgM positive and IgG negative: you have likely been recently (days to 1-2 weeks) infected with the virus that causes Covid19. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people who are infected may not ever develop antibodies. We recommend you have a PCR confirmatory test, which is an oral or nasal swab to detect active virus, or quarantine for 7 days


IgM positive and IgG positive: you have likely been infected with the virus that causes Covid19  2-3 weeks ago.


IgM negative and IgG positive: you were likely infected with the virus that causes Covid19 at least 3 weeks ago.


If you want a PCR test email covid@redhookfamilypractice.com


If you want an ANTIBODY test call our offices to set up a same day appointment. Call 340-775-2303


Red Hook Office: offers PCR and Antibody testing

Yacht Haven Office: offers Antibody testing only

Cruz Bay Office: offers Antibody testing only

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