COVID-19 PCR Testing

When it comes to COVID-19 testing, faster is better!

Our team works around the clock to report results same or next day.  

Frequently asked questions

Who should be tested for COVID 19?

The Fairfax County Health Department recommends that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested. Anyone, whether or not they have symptoms, who has significant exposure to someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19 should also get tested.

People can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s self-checker or the Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDCHECK to help make decisions on when to call their doctor or seek appropriate medical care regarding COVID-19.

What is the difference between the types of tests available for COVID-19?

There are two different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests. A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others.

Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests – molecular (RT-PCR) tests that detect the virus's genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Samples are typically collected with a nasal or throat swab, or saliva collected by spitting into a tube.

An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks after recovery.

What are the differences between the nasal swab and saliva tests for COVID-19?

Until recently, most tests for COVID-19 required a clinician to insert a long swab into the nose and sometimes down to the throat. In mid-April, the FDA granted emergency approval for a saliva-based test.

The saliva test is easier to perform — spitting into a cup versus submitting to a swab — and more comfortable. Because a person can independently spit into a cup, the saliva test does not require interaction with a healthcare worker. This cuts down on the need for masks, gowns, gloves, and other protective equipment, which has been in short supply.

Both the saliva and swab tests work by detecting genetic material from the coronavirus. Both tests are very specific, meaning that a positive test almost always means that the person is infected with the virus. However, both tests can be negative, even if a person is proven later to be infected (known as a false negative). This is especially true for people who carry the virus but have no symptoms.

What does a positive diagnostic test result mean?

A positive test result means that you most likely have COVID-19 now and should stay home and take precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, including using a face covering and practicing good hand hygiene and physical distancing. Information about what to do when sick, how to protect others, when you can leave home and when to get care is available on the CDC webiste.

What does a negative diagnostic test result mean?

A negative test result means that you most likely do not have COVID-19. You should continue to practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing and wear a face covering. This is especially important if you have symptoms because it is possible you have the virus but the test did not detect it.

What date(s) will appear on my COVID-19 test report?

The report will show date the test conducted (sample collected), date the sample received by the lab, and date the report generated.

For the purpose of travel, what date is important for the airline or destination country?

The date the test was performed (sample collected) is the date that is important to the airline and not the date the report was generated.

I am traveling and the airline is requiring a PCR test conducted within 72 hours of travel time. How can you help me?

All tests perfomred by our lab are PCR based. We are able to generate same-day or 24-hour results. Please make sure you indicate the trunraround time you need when you schedule your test.

Are your COVID-19 tests signed by a healthcare professional?

Yes, all the tests perfomred in our lab are signed by a lab/medical director.