Frequently Asked Questions
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (formally known as 2019-nCoV) is the name for the respiratory syndrome caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, loss of smell, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, feeling weak or lethargic, chills, muscle pain, lightheadedness or dizziness, headache, vomiting or diarrhea, slurred speech, and/or seizures.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus spreads primarily from close person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. COVID-19 can even spread by people who are not showing any symptoms.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
• Practice social distancing at least 6 feet apart
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
• Wash your hands often with soap and water
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, contact your doctor or an authorized healthcare provider immediately for guidance. Your doctor or healthcare provider can review your symptoms to determine what testing is appropriate. If COVID-19 diagnostic testing for active infection makes sense for you, your doctor or healthcare provider will direct you where to get tested. Diagnostic testing includes collecting your specimens (for example, nose or throat swab). Your respiratory specimens will be sent to Quest for advanced testing to determine if you are positive for COVID-19 or not.
Drive-thru testing events are also being hosted by Quest and Walmart in select locations. Visit MyQuestCOVIDTest.com for event locations and eligibility requirements.
How do I know if I’m recovered from COVID-19?
You are considered “recovered” from COVID-19 and no longer infectious if it has been at least 10 days from start of your first symptoms, and at least 24 hours without a fever, and all other symptoms have improved.
Additionally, an antibody test may be able to detect if you have previously had an infection and already recovered—even if you never experienced symptoms. This means you may be at decreased risk for reinfection. In fact, in the more than 9 million COVID-19 tests performed worldwide, there have been no confirmed cases of reinfection.* However, more research is needed because it is not yet known how long antibodies will last after infection, and whether antibodies offer short- and/or long-term protection against getting infected again.
How accurate are COVID-19 tests?
Lab test accuracy is measured in two ways—specificity and sensitivity. The antibody tests currently offered by Quest Diagnostics have specificity values of 99.6% to 100% which keeps false positive results to a minimum. The antibody test sensitivity values are approximately 90% to 100%.
Quest’s antibody tests have met robust validation standards and have been granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) by the FDA for public health and clinical use.
Additionally, Quest verifies the tests using strict criteria for precision, reproducibility, accuracy, method comparison, cross-reactivity, and clinical performance.
The active infection (molecular) tests currently performed by Quest have been validated for FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the current pandemic. However, no COVID-19 active infection tests have clinical sensitivity and specificity data at this time. Learn more about the analytical validation studies to earn FDA EUA designation.
Why should I get tested for COVID-19?
If you suspect you have COVID-19 or were recently in contact with someone who had it, a swab test can diagnose if you have an active infection. Knowing if you currently have COVID-19 gives you the information you need to self-isolate and protect everyone around you.
If you suspect that you previously had COVID-19, even if you never showed signs of being sick, you can take an antibody blood test to confirm prior infection. If the test detects antibodies, you may possibly have a lower risk of getting the virus again.
Understanding your antibody status also gives you and your healthcare provider the insight to make an informed decision about returning to activity. Other reasons why it’s beneficial to know if you are positive for COVID-19 antibodies include:
- Encouraging those you were in contact with to talk to their doctor about getting tested
- Minimizing the need to be monitored and retested for COVID-19 infection\
- Donating plasma for those who are seriously ill from COVID-19
Doing your part to slow the spread of the virus by being counted in global pandemic statistics.
How should I prepare for an antibody test appointment?
Follow these tips when preparing for your COVID-19 antibody test appointment at a Quest patient service center.
• Preregister when scheduling your appointment
• During check-in, request a text alert when it’s your turn, so you can wait in your car or outside in the fresh air
• Come by yourself or with just one person if you need help
• Required: Wear a face mask or covering (bandanas and homemade masks are acceptable)
Is COVID-19 testing covered by insurance?
However, those without insurance or those who don’t want to wait for a doctor or healthcare provider’s order, may purchase antibody testing for themselves through QuestDirect. Ordering the test online at QuestDirect does not require a doctor or healthcare provider’s order, and it is not submitted to insurance.
Is it safe to go to a Quest patient service center for testing services?
Quest has strong safety procedures in place at all times. These protect patients and employees from coming into contact with any infectious diseases. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, we have taken more precautions with our new Peace of Mind program that makes it easier and safer to access the testing you need from Quest.
Peace of Mind measures include:
• Requiring face masks for all patients and employees
• Providing gloves to patients to use touchscreen kiosks
• Disinfecting all surfaces more frequently
• Dedicating the first hour of each day to vulnerable patients who are 60 years of age or older, pregnant, or have underlying medical conditions
• Offering a text alert option that allows patients to wait for appointments outside
• Limiting the number of people in the waiting room
• Mandating enhanced COVID-19 safety training for employees
• Equipping employees with additional personal protective equipment
• Washing hands more frequently for at least 20 seconds
• Using a no-contact technique to check patients’ temperatures upon entry
Also, patients who suspect they have COVID-19 should not come to our patient service centers. They should contact their doctor or an authorized healthcare provider.