There are many different types of COVID-19 tests and they are not all equal. The Winchester Health Department recommends the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)Viral Test to see if you have a current infection. This is required for travel orders and may be required when testing is used for school purposes. For more information on testing locations and different types of testing see below.
A viral testtells you if you have a current infection. There are different kinds of viral tests for diagnosing COVID-19. Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests) detect genetic material from the virus. Antigen tests detect proteins from the virus. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular tests.
An antibody testmight tell you if you had a past infection. An antibody test might not show if you have a current infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. (At this time, most people do not need antibody tests and they should not be used to guide decisions on whether to stop isolation or return to work. Currently, there is no proof that antibodies in your blood means that you are immune from further infection with COVID-19.)