COVID-19 tests are important to clear doubts, get timely medical help and prevent further infections.
However, when cases spike, such as the ones we currently live in in Mexico and much of the world, the question arises whether a person has had the virus or not.
Furthermore, two years after the start of the pandemic, there are still doubts as to what types of COVID-19 tests are there, which should be done on a case-by-case basis as well as cost.
To clear the doubts, here we are going to tell you what are the types of tests, which of these you can apply, their cost and what to do if the result is positive for SARS-CoV2 virus.
What are COVID-19 tests and what are their differences?
Let’s start by defining what you need: a serological test, which is used to find out if you’ve had coronavirus in the past or if you need a test to detect the virus.
Serological tests work to determine whether a person’s body has had the virus in the past.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), “Serological tests should not be used to diagnose severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, as antibodies develop a few weeks after infection.”
For this reason, if you want to know if you are currently a carrier of the virus, you should go for a detection test.
The Health Ministry recommends two COVID-19 tests: PCR and antigen.
There is a PCR-type test in which trained personnel perform a pharyngeal or nasopharyngeal swab. That is, they put a swab in your nose (and in your mouth) to collect samples, which will be analyzed to determine if you are a carrier of the virus.
In case of PCR tests, it is recommended to do one after completing two days with symptoms of COVID-19.
Now let’s talk about antigen or rapid test. From September 28, 2020, WHO gave its support for the use of such tests, and until November 11 of the same year Cofepris (Federal Commission against Sanitary Risks) authorized its use in Mexico.
The Mexican agency details that these tests “detect specific molecules of the virus that cause COVID-19, which are present when there is an active infection, that is, when the person is sick.”
They are known as rapid tests because they can be done in doctor’s offices, health centers or kiosks and the results are available within minutes.
One of the descriptions of this type of medical examination is that “they are not for use at home or for self-application by a sick person.”
Plus, they only work if a sample is taken within the first seven days of COVID-19 symptoms.
Which test is recommended in each case?
Cofepris explains, “Antigen tests to diagnose COVID-19 are indicated in people with symptoms that match a suspected COVID-19 case and less than a week from the onset of symptoms. With development.”
However, these types of exams are considered accurate only if the instructions to the letter are followed.
Because false results are possible, it is advisable to have a PCR to verify the result.
how much they cost?
Before creating a wallet, you should know that there are cases in which free COVID-19 tests can be done.
For example, Mexico City officials opened modules in shopping centers, which you can consult at this link.
You can also visit any of these 117 health centers and also visit the kiosks set up for the administration of these tests.
During this new spike in confirmed cases, there has been an increase in the number of people coming to these sites for testing.
In addition to those places, there are laboratories, pharmacies or convenience stores where COVID-19 tests can be applied.
Stores like Walmart have enabled locations for the application, where they charge 199 pesos per test house. Another self-service chain that offers this service is Soriana, where rapid testing is offered at 489 pesos, while the PCR type is at 2,990 pesos.
Dignified Health Laboratories offers Online Appointment for COVID Test Application. Its cost ranges from 200 pesos for antigen to 950 for PCR.
At pharmacies such as San Pablo or Del Ahoro these tests are offered for 338 Pesos.
We recommend that you visit each establishment’s websites to check branches where there is availability.
What if it turns out to be positive?
Once you get the results, it is best to seek medical attention, as this is the best way to know how to treat the disease.
Apart from following a doctor’s instructions, you should also isolate yourself to avoid infecting other people as well as take extreme hygiene measures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if a person tests negative, it’s best to maintain measures to protect yourself – frequent hand-washing, use of masks, respecting healthy distancing.