Q & A: Rapid COVID Test


Dr. Jason Schulman, South Florida Medical Director of After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care, explains the clinic’s process for rapid COVID-19 testing for children.


Q: What is the process for the rapid COVID-19 test?

A: The sample is collected via nasal swab of both nostrils. The test takes approximately 15 minutes to process results.


Q: Who is eligible for the test?  

A: The rapid COVID-19 test has been evaluated for use in patients within the first 5 days of symptoms of possible COVID-19.


Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and rash, including “COVID toes.” A runny or stuffy nose as an isolated symptom is not strongly suggestive of COVID-19.


Q: Can I bring my child in specifically for a COVID-19 test?

A: The rapid COVID-19 test will be given only upon medical evaluation by our providers to patients with suggestive COVID-19 symptoms within the past 5 days. The test has not been evaluated for use for asymptomatic patients or for those with symptoms that have lasted longer than 5 days.


Q: Is there a minimum age?

A: There is no minimum age for the rapid COVID-19 test. We treat children from newborn through age 21.


Q: Is the test accurate? 

A: Positive results are definitive. A negative rapid COVID-19 test is not definitive, and must be followed with a PCR test to confirm a negative result. Patients with a negative rapid COVID-19 test must remain in quarantine until their follow-up PCR result is confirmed positive and they meet the CDC’s symptomatic criteria for clearance. We are not able to clear symptomatic patients over the phone when we call with the results of a negative PCR test. Patients should be seen again by their primary care provider to assure that they meet the CDC’s symptomatic criteria.


Q: What is the cost?

A: Please confirm coverage directly with your insurance provider.


Dr. Lou Romig, MD, Medical Director, After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care, Tampa
Dr. Jason Schulman, MD, Medical Director, After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care, South Florida