At Pediatric Associates, we have been offering rapid testing for COVID-19 since mid-December, 2020. We have found this to be a useful and accurate way to tell if a child with symptoms has COVID-19, and to find out if that child can return to school or daycare.
However, the rapid antigen testing does have limits. It is very good to use for patients who have had symptoms for less than 7 days, but it is NOT very accurate for patients who have NO symptoms or have had symptoms for longer than a week.
If a test is required to get a child with NO symptoms (“asymptomatic”) back into daycare or school, a more precise PCR test is preferred. To clear someone to return at day 7, this test should be done on day 5 or later after the exposure. Also, check the rules of your child’s daycare or school before scheduling. Not all facilities are following the same rules.
The PCR test is also more accurate for patients who have had symptoms longer than 7 days.
The good news is you can visit us for both tests.
If your child has symptoms for less than a week, and the possibility of COVID-19 needs to be addressed, we can do a rapid test in the office, and have results for you before you leave the office that day (usually around 20 minutes).
If your child does NOT have symptoms but needs a test to return to school or daycare OR has had symptoms longer than a week, you can visit us and get a swab for a PCR test sent to an outside lab. The test results will be available within 24-72 hours (in most cases 24 hours).