COVID-19 Rapid Tests

We now have the Abbott ID Now COVID-19 rapid tests available in our office!  This test gives results in as little as 15 minutes.  Most rapid tests out there are antigen tests, which are far less reliable than PCR tests that are sent to a commercial laboratory.  But our test is not an antigen test - it is similar to PCR and thus is nearly as accurate.  If someone is positive on a PCR and in the first week of their illness, there is a 95% chance they will be positive on our test, meaning there will be a few cases that are missed but not many.  The tradeoff is to have test results available the same day and a less painful specimen collection (front of the nose vs a nasopharyngeal swab that goes all the way back) vs somewhat more reliable results.  However, there are some situations where we cannot use this test or we would not recommend it.  Most importanly the test is only approved for people who have symptoms and are in their first 7 days of illness.  So we can't use this to test people who have been exposed but are asymptomatic or for screening people before travel or events.