The standard lab turnaround time for results is 72 hours.
APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED
Tests are only performed Monday through Saturday and must be scheduled ahead of time.
Frequently asked questions
Someone I was around has coronavirus. Should I get tested?
Based on CDC guidance, you should get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of having close contact with that person. Close contact includes being within approximately 6 feet of that person for a prolonged period of time or having direct contact with their fluids, like being coughed on.
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 happens during a COVID-19 nasal swab test? How does COVID-19 testing work?
The person conducting the test will insert a long stick with a very soft brush on the end — kind of like a pipe cleaner — up your nose and twirl it around for a few seconds. The soft bristles will collect a sample of secretions there for analysis. The swab must go far back, because cells and fluids must be collected from along the entire passageway that connects the base of the nose to the back of the throat to get a good specimen.
The body is not used to having an object in that area, though, so it creates a lot of very odd sensations. For one thing, it activates the lachrymal reflex, which means it will bring tears to your eyes if it is done correctly. I would not go so far as to say it hurt, but it is uncomfortable. Since the swab will also touch the back of the throat, it may also trigger a gag reflex.
What are limitations to COVID-19 diagnostic tests?
With any diagnostic test, there is the potential for false negatives or false positives. For existing COVID-19 tests in the U.S., there have been reports of false negative tests in some patients. False negative tests can occur if a specimen was not properly obtained or if a patient was tested too early or too late in their infection. Laboratory error is also a possible cause of false negative test results. Conversely, false positive reports are less common.
What is a false negative result?
It is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (known as a false negative) in some people with COVID-19. This means that you could possibly still have COVID-19 even though the test is negative. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will consider the test result together with all other aspects of your medical history (such as symptoms, possible exposures, and geographical location of places you have recently traveled) in deciding how to care for you. It is important that you work with your healthcare provider to help you understand the next steps you should take.
What is a false positive test?
There is a very small chance that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (known as a false positive result). Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results along with medical history and your symptoms.
Can someone test negative and later test positive on a viral test for COVID-19?
Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during the same illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others.
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 is the cost of COVID-19 test?
What is the cost of the expedited COVID-19 test?
For a 48 hour turnaround time, the cost is $250.
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 the results in as fast as 24 hours so you have the results intime for your travel. Please make sure you indicate the trunraround time you need when you schedule your test (24, 48, or 72 hours).
Are your COVID-19 tests signed by a pathologist?
Yes, all the tests perfomred in our lab are signed by a pathologist/medical director.