COVID-19 Testing Basics

You may need COVID-19 tests for various reasons. From the presence of COVID-19 symptoms to traveling requirements, it’s essential to get yourself tested. Most centers offering COVID testing in Tustin provide all the tests you may need.

However, some tests take 48 hours while others give results within minutes. Some tests can diagnose the condition, but others can’t. Understanding COVID-19 tests will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs.

Let’s dive in!

Types Of COVID-19 Tests

The classification of these tests are of two main types:

Diagnostic tests

These tests help you understand the presence of an active COVID-19 infection. If positive, you’ll need to isolate or quarantine yourself. Antigen and molecular tests are types of diagnostic tests that detect active infection. The sample for these tests is collected through a throat or nasal swab.

  • Molecular tests: The test detects the virus’s genetic material using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It takes about 48 hours but is highly accurate in picking up an active infection.
  • Antigen tests: It detects specific viral proteins within a few minutes. However, antigen tests may provide false-negative results. This means you may be tested negative even if you are infected with the virus. These tests are mainly used for mass testing or to reduce the load for PCR tests. 


Antibody tests

These tests detect antibodies produced by your immune system in response to the coronavirus. Antibodies may take several weeks or months to develop after recovery. Antibody tests thus cannot be used to diagnose an active infection. The sample for these tests is collected by drawing blood or pricking a finger.


Getting Tested

For either test, it’s ideal to isolate yourself at home until you get the results. Follow all the instructions advised by your healthcare provider.

When Are The Tests Needed?

You may need a Covid test in the following scenarios:

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue, or breathlessness, even after vaccination.
  • You don’t have any symptoms but have had close contact with someone suspected of the infection or who tests positive for it.
  • You’ve participated in activities that increase your risk of infection as you couldn’t socially distance as needed, such as attending mass gatherings, travel, or being in crowded indoor settings.
  • You have been asked to get tested by your doctor or public health department.


However, in some cases, you may be exempt from taking the tests. For instance, you come in contact with a person who has tested positive, but if you’ve tested positive in the last three months, you don’t need to get tested.

If you’re fully vaccinated and come in contact with an active infection, you need to get the tests three to five days after you come in contact with them.

In doubt, it’s always good to consult your doctor about when and how you should test yourself.


COVID-19 tests are really helpful in detecting and preventing the spread of coronavirus. The type of test(s) you need depends on your needs. PCR tests aid in diagnosing the infection, while rapid antigen tests help rule out infection. Almost all centers offer rapid covid tests in Tustin so that you can get them whenever needed.