With the increase in availability and recommendations for COVID testing in different situations, we would like to share our thoughts and plans at CMO. Please note that these recommendations change periodically per the CDC. We update our recommendations in accordance to new understanding about the disease, testing recommendations, and testing availability.
Currently, the best test is a PCR test – this is the nasal swab that gets sent to a lab. Result timing varies between 1-10 days depending on the lab and how busy they are. We do have this PCR test available in our office currently but have limited supply.
The “quick test” that is currently available has low sensitivity, which means that it doesn’t pick up all the positive cases and is especially unreliable in asymptomatic patients. We hope to be able to offer a rapid COVID-19 test as it becomes more sensitive and more reliable. This is not a recommended test for screening of asymptomatic patients.
Serology or antibody testing – this is not currently recommended by the CDC for diagnosis or management of COVID-19. It is used in some cases of prolonged or delayed disease diagnosis when other symptoms are present. We know that COVID antibodies disappear rapidly and this test does not help us in most typical clinical situations.
- If you or your child is symptomatic, please call our office to speak with a provider or schedule an urgent visit. We do have tests available in the office that we can run on symptomatic patients. The timing of results can be variable – we have had some back in 48h and others take up to a week. This is dependent on the lab and not our office. We will be in touch with these results as soon as they are available. If you are concerned about possible exposure, or are being tested for COVID with symptoms, we advise that you and your family quarantine for AT LEAST 10 days after onset of symptoms or at least 72 hours after fever is completely resolved – whichever is LONGER!
- If you live in an area that has high rates of COVID, Massachusetts DPH has set up free testing centers. We will post these recommendations to our social media sites. Unfortunately, we do not get the results of these tests directly. We DO recommend testing, however, if offered in this manner.
- If you need testing for summer travel, return to school, or sports participation, this should be done preferably with the PCR test with a nasal swab. Unfortunately due to testing availability and turn-around time, we cannot offer this testing at this time. Mass.gov has an interactive list of local testing sites that you can see here: Interactive Map of COVID testing sites
- A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to allow return to work or daycare.
- Patients should not return to school/daycare/work for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms or at least 72 hours since the last fever without use of fever-reducing medications (CDC as of 7/17/2020) and at least 24 hours after symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) have improved
- Asymptomatic patients who have been exposed or potentially exposed to COVID should quarantine for 14 days after exposure.
How to prevent disease and reduce transmission
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Wear your mask in public and whenever you are within 6 feet of other people
- Avoid large (more than 10 people) gatherings
- Do not share food or drink