Some COVID-19 Testing is Now Available Without and Order
At long last, some COVID-19 testing is now available without a referral from a health care provider. Testing comes in two types: COVID-19 testing, and antibody testing, and the two tests are accessed differently.
COVID-19 testing tests for the presence of live virus. If you have the live virus, whether you have symptoms or not, you can pass the virus on to others, so you must self-isolate until the virus has run its course. Bear in mind that this test only tells you if you have the active virus right now. It does not tell you if you have already had it, and if you test negative, there is always the possibility that you may become infected at any time after taking the test.
Antibody Testing tests for the presence of antibodies, which are the body’s defenses against the virus. There are a lot of qualifiers to bear in mind if you have this test. First, the tests have been rushed into production, for obvious reason, but they are not as accurate as we would like them to be. There are a high number of false negatives, and a higher number of false positives. This means that if you test positive for antibodies, it could be a false positive, and you may not have the antibodies at all. Second, and this is important, even if you do have the antibodies, this only means that you have contracted the virus at some point. It does NOT mean that you are now immune to getting the virus again. The COVID-19 virus is so new that we just do not know yet if antibodies give you real immunity to the disease, and we certainly do not know how long that immunity lasts, if it does exist. Only time will answer those questions. In the meantime, if you take the test, please keep up your vigilance, and your distancing, and your masks.
Where do I go and what do I do?
COVID-19 Testing: Convenient MD has a state contract to offer the COVID-19 test. The nearest test site is in Claremont. To sign up for the test, go to the NH DHHS COVID-19 page, https://www.nh.gov/covid19/ and click on the COVID Testing Registration Form button on the right. You qualify for testing if you meet any one of the following criteria:
- COVID-19 symptoms
- Healthcare worker
- 60 years old or more
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart conditions
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
Once you fill out the form, you will be contacted about an appointment. Do not just show up at the test site.
Antibody Testing: Clear Choice MD has a contract for antibody testing. There are no specifications as to who may be tested.They do not take appointments, but you can reserve a place in line by going to their COVID-19 page. https://ccmdcenters.com/coronavirus2019 Clear Choice MD accepts insurance, and if your insurance does not cover the test, the CCMD offices in New Hampshire offices offer the test to NH residents at no charge. Be aware that the nearest Clear Choice MD is in Brattleboro VT, so check with your insurance company before you go there. If your insurance does not cover the test, the charge in Brattleboro will be $139. Lebanon, Hooksett and Goffstown are the nearest NH offices, but the test will be free to NH residents.
Happy Mothers Day to all, and keep well,
~Rep. Lucy Weber