COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a COVID-19 test?

It’s important to first address what type of test you are seeking/might need.

 

If you are currently ill and think you might have COVID-19, call your primary care provider. Your clinician can help you determine IF you require a COVID-19 viral RNA test to learn if you have an acute infection. Note that the CDC has issued guidelines for viral RNA and Antigen testing to determine acute infection. You can read those here.

 

If you are seeking an antibody test, please know that we are no longer able to offer the COVID-19 rapid antibody tests that we previously offered at our office.

 

Some commercial labs (locally, Quest and LabCorp) are offering an ELISA antibody test. The test requires a blood draw, a physician’s order and is processed in the lab. Results take about 2 – 3 days. Check with your primary care provider — he or she can determine if an antibody test is appropriate for you. You can learn more on the CDC website about antibody tests here.

WHAT is the difference between the lab test and the rapid antibody test?

The rapid antibody test is a point-of-care, finger-prick blood test. It produces results in a few minutes. There has been much debate about the validity of the finger-prick test in the media and in academia. The rapid antibody test is not yet FDA approved (it is awaiting approval) but it is allowed by the FDA. The rapid antibody test we used in our office (distributed by Premier Biotech) is the same test that was used by Stanford in its population study, and was independently verified by Stanford.

 

The serum antibody test requires a doctor’s order, a blood draw and for the blood to be processed in a lab. The current tests are being offered at LabCorp and Quest.  These tests, which are performed in a laboratory, are considered to be a more sensitive and specific test than the rapid test. (You can learn more about the serology antibody test offered by LabCorp here).

I tested positive for antibodies. Am I immune?

There is so much we still don’t know about this virus, and understanding what having positive antibodies means is key to how we behave in the future. At this time, experts aren’t willing to say if having IgG antibodies indicates immunity or for how long, but generally speaking, researchers believe they do offer some protection from reinfection. For how long, we just don’t know.

Where can I go for more information about COVID-19?

Because information is constantly changing, we suggest visiting the CDC Website for the latest information about symptoms, testing, prevention and other guidelines.

Dr. Larkin is conducting Facebook Live events on Mondays and Fridays at 3 pm (EST) to provide the latest information and answer questions.

You can also check with your primary care provider and your local health department.

I am a current patient. What are current protocols?

Office Procedures

Starting the week of May 18, patients are able to schedule in-office appointments, including elective visits, such as wellness exams/physicals. ALL providers are returning to their normal schedule/days in the office. Patients may also schedule an appointment via telehealth when appropriate, if you prefer. We are scheduling appointments to ensure minimal exposure to others, and ask for only one person in the waiting room at a time.

 

To ensure everyone’s safety, we ask you to adhere to the following guidelines if coming to the office:

  • Make sure you call ahead and have an appointment. We will no longer allow for walk-ins for blood draws or other visits without an appointment.
  • Please wear your own mask or face-covering, such as a scarf or bandana that covers your nose and mouth.
  • If you come to the door and see a patient in the waiting room, please remain outside until that person has been ushered to a patient room. We’re scheduling appointments in a staggered fashion to try to avoid any overlap in the waiting room, but we appreciate your help and patience if you see someone waiting.

 

COVID-19 Testing Protocol

We have ended our drive-thru rapid antibody testing operation as of May 15. We tested over 1,700 patients, and the results will be published as a clinical study. Many thanks to our amazing staff for working long, hard days to administer antibody tests to so many.

 

As of this week, we are able to offer two types of testing through LabCorp for members, if warranted. Both tests require an appointment with the practice.

  • Acute infection test – If you are having symptoms and your provider believes you should be tested for acute COVID-19 infection, we will have you come to the office and collect a sample using a nasopharyngeal swab. The sample is sent to the lab and takes 2 – 3 days for results.
  • Antibody test – if you were previously ill and unable to be tested for infection at the time, or if you are a healthcare worker, first responder, or believe you may have been exposed to someone who has/had COVID-19 and want to see if you have developed antibodies, we are able to offer a venipuncture (blood draw) ELISA test, where the blood sample is sent to the lab for processing and results take about 2 – 3 days.
  • Stay tuned to our website and social media channels. As more tests come on the market and receive approval, we may alter this protocol.
I TESTED POSITIVE AND WOULD LIKE TO DONATE MY PLASMA. HOW DO I DO SO?