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COVID-19 Testing: Questions and Answers

1. What is the difference between a "collection kit" and a "test kit"?

  • A “collection kit” is a kit composed of the necessary materials to collect a sample from a patient. For COVID-19 testing this may include sterile specimen cups, biohazard bags, or special collection swabs with transport containers required for testing. A “test kit” is composed of the materials/reagents needed to perform high complexity testing in laboratories certified for such testing. For COVID-19 testing this would include PCR reagents: primers, probes, controls, and extraction materials.


2. Where can I get a test kit?

  • Test kits are not available to the general public and are not available in most healthcare facilities. Kits were first available at the CDC and then were distributed to State Public Health Laboratories. Test kits have recently become available in private laboratories such as Quest and Labcorp. Again, these kits are not the simple bedside kits currently available to test for the influenza virus. Most healthcare facilities and physician offices do not have the capability to perform the high-complexity testing currently available for COVID-19.


3. Can any local facilities perform the test in house?

  • Yes, the Archer Family Clinic can perform COVID-19 testing.


4. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • At this time, the CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in a few days or as long 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS coronaviruses.


5. What is the testing process for COVID-19?

  • A patient is first evaluated by a physician to determine their health status. If the physician feels testing is warranted, they then work in conjunction with the local Public Health District to assess if that patient has met the criteria set forth by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
  • Final approval for testing must be received from DSHS. If that is approved, the lab specimen is overnighted to Tarrant County LRN lab. Based on current lab capacity, results are typically received within two to four days. If DSHS does not approve testing, and the physician still feels that it is warranted, they can choose to test through a commercial laboratory.