Mercy Urgent Care is now offering two types of COVID-19 testing, viral testing and antibody testing, at all eight of its urgent care facilities across Western North Carolina. By offering both tests, Mercy hopes to improve tracking of the virus and slow its spread throughout the region.
The viral test, which detects current infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19), is performed through a nasopharyngeal swab inserted deep into the nose or, in certain situations, the throat. Results are available and shared with patients 1-3 days after the test is performed. Until the results are in, patients should stay home and wait for further instructions to avoid potentially spreading the virus to others.
The antibody test, which may determine whether a patient has had a previous infection of the virus, is used to detect specific proteins, called antibodies, that the body makes in response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Antibodies are often found within the blood of patients who have already recovered from past infections, indicating an immune response to the virus. In this test, a blood sample is taken and sent to a lab, with results available in 1-3 days. This test is most accurate when at least 14 days have passed since the patient last experienced symptoms.
During a clinic or telemedicine visit, clinicians can evaluate patients for whom COVID-19 is suspected. Telemedicine patients may be asked to come to their nearest clinic for testing. Providers will also consider and test for other causes of respiratory illness, such as influenza.
For assessment of symptoms and next-step direction, set up a virtual visit with a medical professional through Mercy’s telemedicine services. Patients coming to a Mercy Urgent Care clinic should call upon arrival in the parking lot to check in for a visit. To make a virtual appointment with a medical provider from home, click here.
For those in need of non-respiratory medical attention, Mercy Urgent Care is still seeing patients for other illness, injury and work-related testing or exams. More information about the organization and all locations can be found at www.mercyurgentcare.org.