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What kind of COVID tests are there, which one should we take, and how do they work?

Many people are finding themselves in unfortunate situations where they have something coming up and they’ve either been exposed to COVID or need proof of a negative test.

Experts explain there are some tests that are much more reliable than others, and some places only take certain kinds of tests known to be the most accurate.

What’s hard right now is that school is starting and required tests are becoming the norm, so they’re in very supply.


Rapid Tests

The fastest way to take a test is an at home rapid test, but some places don’t accept these tests.

These tests are less sensitive than PCR tests and really only work well for large viral loads and symptomatic people. They won’t usually pick up a positive if someone takes the test too early or late in the infection.

PCR Tests

This one is far more accurate, but can take up to two days to get results.

These tests can tell if someone has the virus and if they were previously infected.

While the tests are usually correct, false negatives are still possible.



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