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PCR Testing

What is a PCR test?
PCR means polymerase chain reaction. It’s a test to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus if you have the virus at the time of the test. The test could also detect fragments of the virus even after you are no longer infected.

What is a COVID-19 PCR test?
  The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 is a molecular test that analyzes your upper respiratory specimen, looking for genetic material (ribonucleic acid or RNA) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Scientists use the PCR technology to amplify small amounts of RNA from specimens into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is replicated until SARS-CoV-2 is detectable if present. The PCR test has been the gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19 since authorized for use in February 2020. It’s accurate and reliable.

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Who should get tested for COVID-19?

 Your healthcare provider may recommend testing for COVID-19 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills.

  • Cough.

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

  • Fatigue.

  • Muscle or body aches.

  • Headache.

  • New loss of taste or smell.

  • Sore throat.

  • Congestion or runny nose.

  • Nausea or vomiting.

  • Diarrhea.

 Not everyone with COVID-19 develops symptoms. And not all symptomatic people develop all of the symptoms listed above. Please check with your healthcare provider if you’re feeling unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic — even if you’ve been vaccinated.

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