BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - For most clinics, if you want to get tested for COVID-19 or the antibody test, you can come in and fill out the paperwork and discuss your options with a healthcare worker and find out which test is right for you.
Lowcountry Urgent Care has offered the COVID-19 test since the pandemic started. Now, months in, it sees more and more patients coming in asking for the antibody test. But the two tests serve different purposes.
The COVID-19 test, a nasal or throat swab, tests for active infection.
The antibody test, however, is a blood test. It tests your blood for antibodies that show you were either exposed or had COVID-19 and already recovered from it.
Medical experts say the COVID-19 test is more accurate; the results are typically correct. They say the antibody test is not as reliable and they aren’t sure if having antibodies means you are completely safe.
“If it comes back positive, it just means that they have been exposed to it. It might mean they had it in the past, and it just means that they have the antibodies towards it. So, it is kind of up in the air if the antibodies mean you won’t ever get it again or if it means that you do get it again it will be less severe,” Family Nurse Practitioner Kylie Gratton said.
Lowcountry Urgent Care wants people to know both the COVID-19 and antibody tests should be free - insured or not, because of the Care Act. They also encourage people to continue to socially distance even if you find out you have the antibodies.