- How Testing Works at Reliant
- Testing for Patients Without Symptoms of COVID-19
- Travel Requirement Testing
- Antibody Testing
Learn How COVID-19 Testing Works at Reliant
The testing process described below is consistent with guidelines developed by experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Clinicians at Reliant can also apply clinical judgment in certain cases to offer testing that expands on CDC criteria. In order to determine if testing for COVID-19 is needed, a member of the clinical team will ask questions about symptoms and check for contact risks for COVID-19. Then, an order is placed by a Reliant Medical Group provider and testing is scheduled in one of our three outdoor testing tents. We are not offering “walk-in” testing.
If you are experiencing certain symptoms (coughing, fever, shortness of breath, chest congestion, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, vomiting or diarrhea), be sure to call your doctor’s office before visiting any of our medical offices.
Following physician/advanced practitioner orders, a nurse will help to determine if you are eligible for COVID-19 testing.
If testing is recommended, you will be scheduled to visit one of our outdoor drive-through testing clinics. Depending on the demand for testing, this may not be the same day.
When you arrive at the testing clinic, you will be directed to drive through the testing tent, remaining in your car at all times. You will be asked to turn off your car during certain stages of this process.
Inside the tent, you will need to show your ID and be registered. A clinician will come to your car to collect a sample from your nose to test for COVID-19.
Your test will be sent to Quest Diagnostics.
Your test results will come back to the Reliant provider who ordered your test. We expect that you will be notified of your test results within 3-4 days, but the exact timeframe will depend on Quest Diagnostic’s volume.
Testing for Patients Without Symptoms of COVID-19
Reliant will test asymptomatic patients (those not showing symptoms of COVID-19) who express a “requirement” reason (including but not limited to requirements by employers, vacation rentals, camps, schools, travel requirements, etc.). Patients should contact their primary care office to request a test.
Travel Requirement Testing
Massachusetts is currently enforcing travel requirements for anyone traveling from high-risk states. Reliant will test asymptomatic patients to meet these travel requirements. Patients should contact their primary care office to request a test.
What is a COVID-19 Antibody Test and Should I Get It?
Antibody tests check the blood for antibodies that indicate if a person has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help to fight off infection. Antibody testing is not used to diagnose COVID-19.
It is generally believed that the presence of antibodies for a specific virus confers some degree of immunity against getting the infection again; however, for COVID-19 we do not yet know how long immunity may last. Therefore, determining if someone once had COVID-19 doesn’t tell us with certainty if or for how long someone is protected. In short, more data is needed to understand the body’s immunity response after a COVID-19 infection.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is using antibody testing selectively to understand how widespread COVID-19 infection is in different communities to guide broad decisions about public health. The test is not used to develop treatment or management plans for an individual patient.
Reliant’s Position on Antibody Testing
Because of the uncertainty around COVID-19 immunity testing, Reliant Medical Group providers are not currently ordering antibody testing. This is because the results – either positive or negative – would not change our medical advice:
- If a person is positive for the antibodies (meaning it appears he/she has likely had the infection), we cannot ensure that person has substantial immunity from catching COVID-19 again. In this case, we would still advise taking protective measures, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, to avoid contracting the infection again.
- If a person is negative for the antibodies (meaning that he/she does not appear to have had the COVID-19 infection), our advice would be the same: practice recommended safety guidelines to avoid contracting the infection.
Of course, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing. We will continue to monitor guidelines for antibody testing, and respond appropriately.