COVID-19 Rapid Testing vs PCR: What Families Should Know

COVID antigen test

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many family households, pushing them to re-consider their medical histories, get further treatment, and find ways to live in this new normal. The good news is vaccines are finally here as more people are building their immune systems against the coronavirus and its ever-evolving variants. However, it is fair to say that COVID-19 testing is still important, especially given the low supply and high demand. 

Before opting for testing in your household, it is important to look into the two main types of tests: the Antigen (or Rapid) test and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR) test. Both of them are different and recommended for particular individuals. Since a typical family consists of various age groups and medical backgrounds, it would be in everyone’s best interests to know more about testing and what can be done to contain the virus spread. Use this article as your guide to doing so. 

What Are Rapid Tests and PCR Tests? 

Read the following definitions of COVID-19 testing with your family to learn more about the process and do some initial, well-informed discussions about this important topic: 

  • Rapid testing

Rapid tests detect COVID-19 spike protein fragments from your body to determine if you have the virus. You can take the test at a local clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office, and it is known for its quick turnaround rates of approximately 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the average number of patients per day. 

While this kind of testing is often more affordable than PCR tests, the antigen tests can produce a false negative, meaning that you may still have coronavirus even if the test comes back negative. However, it can still be effective if you catch the viral load at its peak and undergo succeeding tests to track your condition. In other words, this testing can replace PCR tests when used on patients with symptoms

  • PCR testing 

According to many healthcare professionals, the PCR test is the gold standard of COVID-19 testing because it accurately detects the virus with or without the symptoms. It is because of its approach to RNA-based diagnosis, which is more particular to SARS-CoV-2 detection. 

This kind of testing is normally done at any medical facility, but it can also be accomplished elsewhere as long as a licensed medical professional administers it. On the downside, you and your family may feel uncomfortable when the PCR swab is inserted into your nose or throat. Additionally, it costs more and takes a while to get the results. Therefore, in some cases, it may be better to get the antigen test rather than the PCR testing. 

Which COVID-19 Test Is Best For My Family and Me? 

Ultimately, you and other family members cannot make a decision for everyone to consider which COVID-19 test is better. It all boils down to the informed advice of a doctor while assessing each person’s medical history, lifestyle, and viral exposure. Once the appropriate testing is done, the family also has to develop a plan to contain the viral transmission, whether or not someone will test positive for coronavirus. It would be best to coordinate with your local clinic to meet your needs. 


COVID-19 testing is one of your family’s most effective defenses against contracting severe medical complications, which can affect the quality of life at home and beyond. Fortunately, you now have a frame of reference on this important subject matter for the sake of everyone’s well-being. Meanwhile, if you are anxious about finding the right medical experts, do not fret because you have come to the right place! 

Agile Urgent Care can provide you with dependable COVID-19 testing in New Jersey. Our team is committed to providing affordable yet high-quality services to ensure you and your family can avoid virus transmission, stay fit, and mitigate other medical complications. Get in touch with us at 201-381-4800 for more information, or simply click the “Get Started” button to book your appointment. 

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