Please review this important notice regarding national COVID-19 test delays, available by clicking here.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PWNHEALTH IN COVID-19 TESTING?
PWNHealth provides clinical oversight and care coordination (including independent physician review of test orders) for COVID-19 testing programs nationwide. PWNHealth physicians use technology-assisted protocols to facilitate triage, evaluation, patient education and post-test telehealth consults to ensure patients proceed along the appropriate care pathway in a clinically sound manner.
CAN I ORDER A TEST THROUGH PWNHEALTH?
No. PWNHealth is not a reseller or direct distributor of COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 test requests are available through our partners and programs we support.
How do I reschedule or cancel my appointment? How do I schedule a retest?
For any requests or questions related to scheduling please contact the company you ordered the test through.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A TEST THAT PWNHEALTH SUPPORTS?
PWNHealth supports testing programs with clinical oversight, care coordination (including independent physician review of test orders), and physician services. Individuals will receive education and information both before and after testing. Education focuses on symptom monitoring, when to seek in-person or emergency care, and other critical points to limit the spread of the disease and to optimize outcomes. PWN care coordinators will promptly notify individuals once their test results are available and provide counsel on any immediate steps to take, such as isolation or seeking in-person care. As part of PWNHealth services, individuals will also have an opportunity to schedule a post-test telehealth consult with a board-certified, licensed physician, who can answer any questions about test results or personal health concerns.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE TEST?
You do not need to do anything to prepare for the test. You do not need to fast or stop taking any medications before testing. Further instructions will be provided to you at the test center or in your test kit.
WHY AM I INELIGIBLE FOR TESTING?
We recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider or local health department about testing recommendations for your specific situation.
If you have severe symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away instead of ordering a test.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TEST?
If you completed a test supported by PWNHealth, based on your results, we may attempt to contact you by phone. If you are unable to be reached, we will send you a postal letter letting you know that your results are ready to view. As part of PWNHealth services, you may have an opportunity to speak with a board-certified, licensed physician who can answer any questions you may have about your results and help determine next steps in care.
Follow up with your healthcare provider, local health department, or employer for specific guidance about whether to stay home or continue working while waiting for your results. Be sure to continue to follow federal, state, and local government guidance regarding social distancing and isolation.
HOW CAN I ACCESS MY RESULTS?
If you completed a test supported by PWNHealth, you will receive an email with directions on how to access your secure results online.
WHEN WILL MY RESULTS BE READY?
Results are released to you as they become available from the lab, however, there may be longer wait times depending on lab volume and demand for testing. Please contact the company that the test was ordered through for more information.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ANTIBODY TEST AND A PCR TEST?
An antibody test checks to see if you’ve developed antibodies against COVID-19, which occurs after being exposed to the virus. Antibody tests do not show whether a person is currently infected.
A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test checks for genetic material (viral RNA) produced by the virus. It determines if you’re currently infected and can spread COVID-19 to others.
WHEN WOULD I GET AN ANTIBODY TEST VS. A PCR TEST?
You should get an antibody test to check if you’ve been previously exposed or believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and want to see if you have developed antibodies.
You should get a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19, are a healthcare worker, or you live or work in a place where people reside, meet, or gather in close proximity. This can include homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, group homes, prisons, detention centers, schools, and workplaces. A PCR test may also be helpful if you currently have symptoms of COVID-19 or want to check if you have the virus and can pass it on to others.
HOW ARE COVID-19 ANTIBODY AND PCR TESTS PERFORMED?
An antibody test is conducted by collecting a blood sample (such as from a finger prick or needle draw).
A PCR test is conducted either by nasal swab or saliva collection. The nasal swab test requires insertion of a swab into your nose and the back of your throat. The saliva test requires providing a sample of your spit into a collection tube.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTING?
On an individual level, an antibody test looks for antibodies in the blood. Your immune system makes antibody proteins to help fight infections. If you were exposed to COVID-19, an antibody test will show whether or not you’ve developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. An antibody test cannot tell you whether you have a current COVID-19 infection.
On a population level, antibody testing can give researchers a sense of how many people have been exposed to and infected by COVID-19. In the future, antibody testing may show whether someone has immunity against COVID-19, meaning that they cannot get infected again. If antibodies make people immune to COVID-19, it can help inform leaders and public health officials about whether the population has reached herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a large percentage of a population has become immune to COVID-19, which can protect those people who are not immune.
HOW RELIABLE ARE THE COVID-19 TESTS THAT PWNHEALTH SUPPORTS?
PWNHealth only supports COVID-19 tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). These approved tests minimize the chance of inaccurate, false positive, or false negative results. The FDA has found that tests that meet certain standards are of superior quality and have high sensitivity and specificity* (measurements of accuracy). PWNHealth will not use tests that have been shown to have low sensitivity and specificity.
There are other COVID-19 tests on the market that have not received either FDA approval or EUA. Many of these tests can result in high rates of false positives and false negatives. These poor quality tests can worsen the COVID-19 pandemic by providing false reassurance to those who have the infection or by causing those who do not have it to use critical resources.
* Actual sensitivity and specificity may vary between test manufacturers. A sample that is not properly collected may also result in an inaccurate result.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION (EUA) AND FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) APPROVAL?
The FDA has the authority to grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to diagnostic tests that have not yet received formal approval in times of a public health emergency. The FDA has granted EUA for certain tests during the COVID-19 pandemic to help detect or diagnose COVID-19. Like full FDA approval, EUA relies on strict standards. However, EUA is completed more quickly based on the limited data that is available, unlike full FDA approval. Visit the FDA website for more information.
WHAT IS SENSITIVITY? WHAT IS SPECIFICITY?
Sensitivity and specificity are different and complementary measures to inform doctors and patients about the accuracy of a test. A good test has both high sensitivity and high specificity.
- Sensitivity is a measure of how well a test is able to detect people who are infected (positive cases). If a person has an infection, a test with 100% sensitivity can accurately detect it with a positive result.
- Specificity is a measure of how well a test can detect people who are NOT infected (negative cases). If a person does not have an infection, a test with 100% specificity can accurately detect it with a negative result.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease (also called COVID-19) is an infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus), one of the most recently discovered types of coronaviruses. Those who have this disease may or may not experience symptoms, which range from mild to severe.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. The most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Cases of COVID-19 range from mild to severe. Some people who are infected don’t have any symptoms and don’t feel sick. Most people have mild symptoms. Visit the CDC website for more information about symptoms.
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK MEDICAL CARE?
If you think you have been exposed, it is important to closely monitor for symptoms. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop severe symptoms, especially if you experience:
- Severe trouble breathing (such as being unable to talk without gasping for air)
- Continuous pain or pressure in your chest
- Feeling confuse or having difficulty waking up
- Blue-colored lips or face
- Any other emergency signs or symptoms
If you seek medical attention, be sure to call ahead before visiting the facility. This will help the facility keep other people from possibly getting infected or exposed.
- Tell any healthcare provider that you may have COVID-19.
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Put on a facemask before you enter any healthcare facility.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM GETTING COVID-19?
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid situations in which you may be exposed to the virus. Everyday actions can help protect you and prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Restrict any activities outside your home and maintain a safe distance (around 6 feet) between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This includes avoiding crowded areas, shopping malls, religious gatherings, public transportation, etc.
- Wear simple cloth face coverings in public settings (like grocery stores and pharmacies) where social distancing is difficult, especially in areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
- Stay home when you are sick, unless you are seeking medical care.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Visit the CDC website for more information.
WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING?
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. It includes:
- Staying at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
- Not gathering in groups
- Staying out of crowded places and avoiding mass gatherings
Social distancing is one of the best ways to avoid being exposed and to help slow the spread of the virus. It is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Be sure to continue to follow federal, state, and local government guidance regarding social distancing.
HOW CAN I PREVENT SPREADING COVID-19?
If you believe you may have COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the following steps can help prevent the disease from spreading to others:
- Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home
- Restrict any activities outside your home, except for getting medical care
- Avoid public areas, including work and school
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
Cover your nose and mouth
- If you are sick, wear a facemask when you are around other people or pets
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away used tissues
Wash your hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Wash your hands especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, or before eating or preparing food
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and other people with unwashed hands
Do not share
- Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets
- After using personal items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water
Clean and disinfect
- Clean high touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables
- Clean any surfaces that may come in contact with body fluids, blood, or stool
- Use a household cleaning spray or wipes
- Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have body fluids, blood, or stool on them
We’re here to help
Our Patient Care team is here to help answer your questions about any of the COVID-19 programs we support. Contact us by phone at 315-401-7865 on Monday-Sunday, 8 am EST- 11 pm EST.
- The antibody tests and the molecular tests (together referred to as “tests”) have not been cleared or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- The FDA has authorized the use of some tests by certain laboratories under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
- The antibody tests have been authorized for the detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 only, and not for the detection of any other viruses or pathogens
- The molecular (PCR) tests have been authorized for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 only, and not for the detection of any other viruses or pathogens
- Tests are only authorized for as long as the circumstances exist to justify the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner