Whether traveling internationally, or simply going to Grandma’s house, the rapid PCR testing that LifeCare Alliance’s Wellness Services now offers is helping families stay safer from COVID this holiday season.
PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, and with accuracy that approaches 100 percent, it is considered the gold standard of COVID testing. In fact, it is required for travelers headed to several international destinations – including Canada.
According to Melinda Rowe, Director of Wellness Services for LifeCare Alliance, there is a lot of confusion around the various COVID tests and their best uses.
“There are rapid antigen tests, which are the ones most frequently conducted in-home,” says Rowe.
“These are the ones that you get for low-cost at the drugstore, or which are sometimes given out free by the health department.”
Antigen tests can be less accurate than PCR tests as they rely on the level of antigens in a person’s body who has been exposed to the COVID virus. It is widely thought that a person can carry and spread the disease 3-5 days before exhibiting symptoms or producing enough antigens to register on a rapid antigen test.
The PCR test can successfully detect even the smallest amount of coronavirus genetic material in a sample, making it a highly sensitive and accurate test.
Many international destinations are requiring proof of a negative PCR test anywhere from 24-72 hours before arrival of flights into their country. This requires a rapid PCR test as opposed to a traditional PCR test that can take several days to return results.
A few of the nations requiring PCR testing include England, France, Germany, Italy, Dominican Republic, and even Canada. These requirements are changing rapidly and travelers should continually monitor any conditions to entry into a country because of COVID.
But international travel isn’t the only reason people are choosing to get a rapid PCR test.
Wallis Harsch, a retiree from The Ohio State University, came to LifeCare Alliance to get a rapid PCR test before visiting her son and his family on the East Coast. She wanted to make sure her grandson would be safer from COVID exposure if she and her husband went to visit him for the holiday.
“Many people with family members who are elderly, extremely young, or have pre-existing conditions, are opting to get the rapid PCR test before visiting in order to protect those most vulnerable,” says Rowe.
LifeCare Alliance Wellness Services offers rapid PCR testing at our headquarters at 1699 W. Mound Street. The test costs $200 and is not covered by insurance. Sixty percent of the fee goes to cover the costs of special equipment, supplies and the trained technicians required for the test. The rest of the fee is dedicated to LifeCare Alliance’s social enterprise and goes to support the nurses we have out in the community that provide free health screenings, free foot care, free diabetes education, and counseling and other services.
LifeCare Alliance offers rapid PCR testing at our headquarters at 1699 W. Mound Street in Columbus, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You must call for an appointment at 614-437-2878.