COVID testing FAQs

What's the difference between an antigen test and an RT-PCR test?

Rapid Antigen tests detect proteins in the virus that causes COVID-19. Results are ready in less than one hour. Antigen tests are less sensitive than RT-PCR tests and may not detect the virus if the person was infected very recently or has small amounts of virus in their system. For this reason, a follow-up PCR test should sometimes be performed, such as when a person has COVID-19 symptoms, but the antigen test is negative. Alternatively, you can take another antigen test in 24-48 hours.

RT-PCR and other molecular tests identify and amplify genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Once received by our laboratory, the specimen takes several hours to process. RT-PCR tests can detect the virus even if there is only a small amount in your system. Some people test positive with a PCR test weeks or months after having COVID-19, even though they are no longer contagious. This test is considered the gold-standard for viral detection.

How do I know which test I need?

This depends on your situation. For travel, please follow the guidelines for entry issued by the country to which you are traveling and check them often as they are subject to frequent changes. 

If you are symptomatic, we encourage you to wait the few extra hours for an RT-PCR test result as rapid antigen tests have decreased sensitivity, particularly against Omicron infections.

What are at-home tests and when should I use them?

We offer an at-home COLLECTION, but the test is still performed in our laboratory. You simply collect your saliva specimen using one of our at-home collection kits and return to us on the day you need your result. We do not distribute rapid antigen, at-home collection tests. 

Our at-home collection is a great option for those with busy schedules, families needing multiple tests, homebound patients, or those in need of a collection time outside of our business hours.

If I have been recently vaccinated against COVID-19, will I test positive for COVID-19 on your RT-PCR or Antigen Tests?

The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19 or make you test positive for COVID-19. The vaccines do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, that means you likely have COVID-19 due to a recent exposure.

Do you accept insurance? If I choose to self-pay, how much do your COVID tests cost?

Yes, we can file a claim for your health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. If you choose to self-pay, the costs for our tests are as follows

  • COVID-19 RT-PCR - $100
  • COVID/FluA/FluB- $125
  • SARS Rapid Antigen- $50

How quickly will I receive my results and how will I be notified?

For rapid antigen tests, results will be available in less than one hour. For RT-PCR tests, results will be available the same business day for all specimens received by 2:00 PM EST. Same-day results are not guaranteed for specimens received after 2:00PM EST.

You will be notified of your result via text message and a copy of the report will be emailed to you. Therefore, it's very important that you verify your phone number and email address prior to submitting your registration. 

Do your reports contain QR codes?

Yes! Every report contains a QR code. We offer this service at no additional charge.

Help! I received a text notification, but not my email.

Please check your SPAM and JUNK folders. If you still have not found an email containing your report, contact us at 423-206-7091 for assistance.

What do I do after receiving a positive test?

A positive PCR test has implications for both that individual and their close contacts. Here’s what happens in each case:


I have no symptoms. Isolate for at least 5 full days after first positive test. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for an additional 5 days.


I have symptoms of COVID-19. Isolate for at least 5 full days after symptom onset and until fever free for at least 24 hours. Then wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others for an additional 5 days.


I am a close contact, and I am:

  • Fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible or tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days: No quarantine necessary. Get tested at least 5 days post exposure or if symptoms develop; self-monitor daily for symptoms through Day 10.
  • Unvaccinated or vaccinated but not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination including booster: Quarantine for at least 5 full days from last potential exposure; Get tested 5 days post exposure or if symptoms develop; self-monitor daily for symptoms through Day 10.

January 11, 2022

Will someone call me to follow-up on my test result?

You will not receive a follow-up call from a clinician unless you requested follow-up during the registration process. If you need follow-up, please be sure to check the box when entering your order. 

Where are you located?

We are located in the Riverfront Medical Center, near downtown, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our address is

1247 Riverfront Parkway

Suite 212 

Chattanooga, TN 37405