As Florida’s schoolchildren return to the classroom, and restaurants, bars, sports venues and other businesses are now able to reopen at full capacity, one thing remains certain: the coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. And that makes accurate, convenient testing all the more important.

Baptist Health South Florida is now offering COVID-19 testing at all of its Urgent Care and Urgent Care Express locations. All three of the most common tests are available.

Katie Acquino, D.O., lead physician at Baptist
Health Urgent Care in West Boca Raton

“We have Rapid Antigen tests, PCR tests and Antibody tests,” says Katie Acquino, D.O., lead physician at Baptist Health Urgent Care in West Boca Raton. “That means it’s possible for you to find out if you have an active COVID-19 infection in as little as 15 minutes.”

Both the Rapid Antigen test and the PCR test are administered with nasal swabs and can detect active infection from COVID-19. “The Rapid Antigen test is very accurate for positive tests on symptomatic patients and produces results in about 15 minutes,” says Dr. Acquino, “but if a patient has a high suspicion of having COVID-19, and the rapid test is negative, we will send out a PCR test for confirmation.” 

If you are not having symptoms, Dr. Acquino says, the test of choice would be the PCR test which is even more accurate and therefore is considered the gold standard of COVID-19 testing. “Results for that are currently taking about three to four days,” she says.

And then there’s the Antibody test, which can’t detect an active infection but can tell you if you were previously exposed to the virus. This test requires blood to be drawn and is also very accurate, according to Dr. Acquino. Wherever you decide to go for your COVID-19 test, she says, the medical staff there can help determine the best course of action according to the latest testing guidelines.

Luis Bellmas, vice president of Baptist Outpatient Services, which includes all of Baptist Health’s Urgent Care and Urgent Care Express centers across South Florida, says COVID-19 testing is quickly becoming a normal part of our daily lives.

Luis Bellmas, vice president of
Baptist Outpatient Services

“Anyone who hopes to return to work or school after recovering from COVID-19 may need to be tested before they’re allowed to return,” Mr. Bellmas says. “And many airlines and cruise ships may require proof of a negative test taken within a certain amount of time prior to departure for the foreseeable future.”

Whatever your reason for getting a COVID-19 test – work, school, travel or, simply, peace of mind – Mr. Bellmas says that an appointment isn’t necessary and you don’t even need a prescription.

“You can schedule a reservation online or you can just walk in to any of our Urgent Care or Urgent Care Express locations,” he says. “A provider will do a medical evaluation and discuss the best testing options with you.” Tests are fully covered by most insurance plans, he adds, but patients should check with their insurance provider in advance.

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