How accurate are rapid COVID-19 tests?
Positive results are usually highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a PCR test. Rapid tests are most effective one to five days after symptoms start.
Where can I get tested for COVID-19 with laboratory or rapid tests for free?
Many pharmacies and community centers provide access to free COVID-19 tests. Visit Community-Based Testing Centers or the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) website to find testing locations in your area.
When are rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 most accurate? Rapid antigen tests are most accurate when they are used in people who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, especially during the first week of illness. People who test negative may still be infected.
When should you take a COVID-19 PCR test instead of a rapid antigen test?
“PCR would be chosen where there is a low likelihood of having the virus, but we want to be certain the patient doesn’t have it. Antigen would be chosen if there is a high probability the patient has the virus (i.e. is experiencing symptoms), and we need to screen the patient as positive or negative,” Heather said.