FAQ on COVID-19 Testing
Can I get tested for the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) at Topeka ER & Hospital?
Yes, but only under a doctor’s orders, either one of our ER doctors or your own physician.
If you are a walk-in patient to Topeka ER & Hospital, you will be examined by one of our doctors and depending on your diagnosis, our doctors may order a coronavirus test be performed on you in our on-site lab. Because it is part of your ER exam, this test will be billed to your insurance at inpatient rates as part of your ER visit.
If you have been referred to Topeka ER & Hospital by your own physician for a coronavirus test, you will be tested in our on-site lab. However, you will not receive an ER exam and your insurance will be billed for coronavirus testing at the outpatient rates listed here.
How do you test for the coronavirus?
Depending on the doctor’s orders, you will receive a diagnostic test of either a PCR or Sofia rapid test, or an antibody test.
The two diagnostic (viral) tests look for an active coronavirus infection and use a nasal swab to collect a testing sample. The PCR test is a molecular test that detects the virus’s genetic material and generally takes 3-7 days for results at an outside laboratory specializing in PCR testing.
The Sofia rapid test (nasal swab) detects proteins on the virus’s surface, specifically the SARS-CoV 2 antigen. Rapid tests are not as sensitive as the PCR molecular tests, meaning a positive rapid test result is highly accurate, but a negative rapid test result does not rule out an active infection. (The Sofia rapid antigen test uses the Sofia 2 analyzer made by Quidel, and is FDA Emergency Use Authorization approved.)
An antibody test looks for antibodies produced by your immune system in response to the coronavirus. Because these antibodies take several days to develop after infection and can stay in your blood for several weeks after you recover from an infection, an antibody test is not a reliable indicator of an active coronavirus infection, only that you have been exposed to the coronavirus.
How do I know if I need to be tested for the coronavirus?
If you are a walk-in patient, one of our ER doctors will examine you to determine if you should be tested for the coronavirus in accordance with the CDC guidelines for coronavirus testing.
When will I receive my test results?
Results from the Sofia rapid test are ready within 15-30 minutes while you wait. Results from the PCR test can take between 0-3 days, and one of our staff members will contact you with the results when we receive them.
What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the coronavirus?
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019 and is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2, more commonly referred to as the coronavirus.