Answers to Common Questions about PCR Test

Answers to Common Questions about PCR Test featured image

Written by Ray

April 29, 2021

The fear of potentially acquiring COVID-19 is becoming burdensome, especially as the
pandemic continues to be a significant threat to people’s health. Today, a single cough is enough to raise concerns and question whether a person is with the virus.

Taking a coronavirus test can help lessen the worry by differentiating COVID-19 from a simple flu or cough. Knowing if you are infected with coronavirus can help protect your health and the health of those around you.

For people who want to have a sure and accurate result, taking a polymerase chain reaction or PCR test is their best option. However, it is still a mysterious process for many, and it is understandable to have a question or two about it.

Here are some of the answers to common questions you may have about the PCR test.

How does the PCR test for COVID-19 work?

Three types of tests can detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19: diagnostic tests and antibody tests. The PCR test is a type of diagnostic test that can tell if someone currently has the virus. Like the antigen tests, samples from this are taken from the nose or throat with a cotton swab.

The sample, collected by a healthcare provider, is then analyzed in a laboratory with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology. It can help find tiny amounts of the virus by amplifying the virus’s genetic material to a level where the virus can be detected.

How long does it take to know the results?

The results of the test can be in as early as 24 hours. Although the time to get the test results is longer than what people can expect with Antigen tests, it is more reliable and accurate. Some results take two to three days before people can receive them. It may vary depending on several instances, such as the amount of time the sample was taken to a laboratory or simply too many samples are in the queue to be tested.

While waiting for the results after I was tested, should I self-quarantine?

Unless the results are out, and regardless of its findings, you are still required to continue
self-isolation. It is because you are at high risk of exposing other people to the virus, there is a high chance that you might spread it unknowingly.

What do COVID-19 PCR test results mean?

● A positive result means that the person being tested is very likely to have an active
COVID-19 infection. Going to a hospital to receive immediate care may depend on the
severity of the symptoms. Some with mild illness can recover at their own home without
medical supervision. It is best to contact a healthcare provider for questions and concerns for those who may experience worsening symptoms. If a person tested positive for COVID-19, the rest of the household members do not necessarily need to take one too but are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and take extra precaution.

● A negative result means a person who took the PCR test did not have COVID-19 when it was taken. However, having a negative result does not mean the possibility of getting infected is low. A person can get infected after or more than a week after a test. It is vital to continue steps to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19 even after getting tested.

Getting Tested

You may want to get tested for various reasons. It may be because you have been exposed to a person who has tested positive or you are experiencing symptoms of the virus. Talking with a healthcare provider comes first or you can take the initiative and look for PCR testing providers.


Harley Medic International is partnered with government-approved PCR test providers, and they offer PCR testing for both travel and work. They have many locations across the UK, or click for PCR test near me to find what test center is closest to you. You can email them at info@harleymedic.co.uk or contact them by phone with their number 0330 390 3666.

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