Nasal Swab Testing for COVID-19

We understand that there is some confusion about COVID-19 testing. Data suggests that people may spread the infection beginning a few days before symptoms begin (pre-symptomatic spread) and they also may be contagious even if they never develop symptoms at all (asymptomatic spread). We are following the current CDC recommendations on testing as listed here:


Symptomatic children: Call office to schedule testing (may be limited based on availability of test kits)

  • Fever (100.4 or higher) or chills

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue (being tired)

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • Loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea


Asymptomatic children: Do not need to be tested

  • Individuals who have close contact (described as within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with a person who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19

    • Stay home for 14 days after last exposure. Maintain social distance for all others

    • Self monitor for symptoms: check temperature twice a day

    • Avoid contact with people at higher risk


However, it is important to know that a negative test does not necessarily rule out COVID-19 infection. The timing and type of testing are important. Rapid tests are much more likely to miss an infection than the PCR tests that take more time (false negatives). Even with PCR, a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the probability of a false negative test is 100% on the first day of infection (typically before symptoms start). By day 5, the typical day that symptoms start, the false negative rate is still 38%. On day 8, the false negative rate is at its lowest but is still 20%. So anyone who suspects they may be infected, especially if they have been in contact with someone who is infected, should assume that they are infected even if their test is negative and follow the self-quarantine recommendations above.

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