The world is still suffering due to Covid-19, and Houston city is no different. According to a recent update by Houston Health Department, a case of Omicron variant has been detected in Houston's wastewater. This clearly shows the severity of the condition. Health is the most important element of human life, and to ensure its safety, Houston is taking all the possible measures to keep the situation under control and allow as little of the loss as possible from happening.
The first and foremost step is to provide a convenient testing service to everyone, and that is what Houston is focusing on. The various Houston covid testing centers use different testing procedures in every area of the city to reach every individual. If you want to know more and stay updated, keep reading to find out all about the Covid testing in Houston.
Free Rapid Covid Testing Houston
The more the virus spreads, the more dangerous the situation becomes. There are people who cannot afford the cost of Covid tests, let alone medications and post-virus treatments, but their survival is also necessary because every life matters. Therefore, in order to help the citizens, campaigns and services of free Rapid Covid testing Houston are being carried on. These tests are completely free of cost for every individual who avails of the opportunity. People can easily reach out to the nearest testing center, grab this chance and get themselves tested.
Different Methods of Rapid Covid Testing
There are several methods used for covid testing. Although some of them are considered more authentic than others, every method is valid and gives accurate results. All the different testing methods are divided into two main categories mentioned below.
Viral tests detect the presence of the virus (Sars-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19. The samples used for viral testing are taken from the nose or mouth of a person. They are further grouped into two kinds;
- Laboratory tests
Laboratory tests take up days to give the results. Usually, they give authentic results, but some tests may require further tests for confirmation too. The RT-PCR (Reverse transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) and several other types of NAATs fall under the laboratory testing category.
- Rapid tests
These tests do not require much time. They can be finished within minutes, and people can get the results right then. The different tests types of rapid tests include Antigen tests and some NAATs.
- Antibody Tests
This test detects the presence of antibodies (the proteins that the immune system of a human body develops in order to fight off infections and protect the body from the same disease in the future) in a person’s blood.
Antibody tests are not to meant to diagnose a current infection or disease; they help learn the immunity system and only tell whether the person has been affected by the virus in the past or not. Therefore, they are not recommended if a person is currently suffering due to Covid-19.
Free and Rapid Covid Testing Houston
With the ongoing hassle of the pandemic, every place requires verification of a Covid test. Whether you are going to work, starting a new school or college, traveling somewhere, entering a place of high maintenance, or attending a crowded yet important event, you need to get yourself tested first.
Often, it happens that you cannot go for the Covid test on time, and now you do not have much time for a time-consuming laboratory test, but you need the test verification for whatever reason it may be. There is no need to panic if such a situation comes up. The free rapid Covid testing Houston makes sure you face no problem and get your test result within time.
Testing services are provided throughout Houston, at various health centers and other emergency centers set up for the Covid testing task particularly. You do not need any kind of appointment for the test. You can directly walk in and avail of rapid Covid testing Houston service free of cost.
The locations and schedules of testing sites are carefully set up, keeping in mind everyone’s convenience. The following health centers manage all the sites hosting Covid testing in Houston.
- Houston Health Department
- United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC)
All the places working as testing sites under these centers operate throughout the weekdays. As mentioned above, there is no need to bother with an appointment beforehand, but you can easily go for the appointment on the website of the respective site if you want. You can simply either drive-through or walk in directly and get tested without any difficulty. The maximum time you need to wait for the result is 10-15 minutes, and your test results will be ready to check. It is an easy process that costs nothing and saves your time, too, giving you verification of protection from the fatal virus of Covid-19.
This 15-minute Covid test Houston is especially the best offer for people who are traveling. There have been many cases where a person gets tested with a negative result, reaches the airport, and plans to get on the plane in a few hours. But several problems come up. For instance, sometimes the test expires, and people have to get tested again to verify their documents. Otherwise, airports do not let them get on the airplane. It happens because Covid tests results are best valid for a maximum of one day only, and some airports take it very seriously while some others let it go on for two days.
In any case, if you are in too much of a hurry, no need to worry. The Covid testing Houston Tx does not only provide free testing but a rapid result service also. So, if you are stuck in such a situation and cannot think of a way out, rapid covid tests that require 15 minutes only are always there for your rescue. Go to the nearest health center in Houston that offers free rapid covid testing and get yourself tested. You do not need to wait to receive your results because they will easily be available on the same day. With the Covid test results Houston service, get your results within minutes and catch your flight without any further problems.
PCR Covid Testing
The PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Covid test is a molecular test that is a type of laboratory examination and falls under the category of viral tests. It is one of the most accurate and reliable methods of Covid testing. It basically detects the presence of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) in the sample taken from your upper respiratory tract. In order to understand the whole procedure of PCR testing, keep reading.
The Procedure of PCR Covid Testing
There are a few steps that explain the proper method of this test.
- Sample collection
The process starts when a healthcare professional collects respiratory material as a sample from your nose. They do it with the help of a swab, which is a flexible stick sent down your nose or even further. It depends on what kind of swab the healthcare provider uses. If they use a nasal swab, it will immediately collect the sample from your nose. However, if they choose to use a nasopharyngeal swab, that would require going further into your nasal cavity to collect the sample for the test. Whatever type of swab is used, the test can be performed alright with it. Once the sample is collected, the swab is covered with a tube and sent to a laboratory to continue the procedure further.
When the collected sample is handed over to a laboratory member, they proceed to extract genetic material from the rest of the content present in it.
- Amplification of genetic material
This final step requires the use of several tools like some particular chemicals, enzymes, and a thermal cycler (the PCR machine). Here, the extracted genetic material passes through a number of heating and cooling cycles first. These cycles are supposed to amplify (increase) the amount of genetic material in the test tube. As a result of which, several million clones of the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 can be found in the tube.
From the many chemicals present in the tube, one develops a fluorescent light and signals the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the sample. The PCR machine then detects the signal after enough amplification of the virus's genetic material. Healthcare professionals then verify the test result as positive with the help of software. The test being positive means that the SARS-CoV-2 is present in the sample.
The test results of this testing procedure take a day at least. Sometimes, the result comes out within a day too, but usually, it takes more than that. However, it may take more time but will always give you authentic and reliable results that need no confirmatory tests.
The PCR Covid test Houston gives an accurate result because it detects even the most minute bit of virus material if present. It concludes the fact that this test can signal the presence of SARS-CoV-2 even after you have fully recovered from the virus. And sometimes, that can cause a problem too. You may have recovered and cannot spread the virus around, but if you are hinted Covid-positive, you need to consult a healthcare professional and discuss that with him.
RT-PCR Covid Testing
This testing method is almost as same as the PCR method. The only difference between both is an addition of ‘Reverse Transcription Step’ in the RT-PCR procedure. A special type of enzyme called ‘Reverse Transcriptase Enzyme’ is used to carry out this additional step and bring the result of the test.
The time frame that the RT-PCR Covid test result requires ranges from 1-3 days. Apart from all this, both the methods are identical and provide equally accurate results.
Who Needs to Get Tested for Covid?
In the ongoing hassle of the pandemic, it is important to know when you need to do what and why. As far as Covid testing is considered, health professionals have shared the symptoms that ensure the presence of the virus. Now, if you want to keep yourself safe and protect your loved ones from this fatal virus, you need to be aware of its symptoms.
Symptoms of Covid-19
If you find yourself or any other loved one suffering from the symptoms listed below, do not hesitate to reach out to the Houston city's nearest health center and go for an immediate Covid test.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or some kind of pressure on the chest
- Unnecessary fatigue
- Muscle and overall body pain
- Sore throat
- Severe and untimely headache
- Lack of smell and taste
- Random pain and ache throughout the body
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of speech
- Unnecessary confusion
Normally it takes 5-6 days for the symptoms to show up if you are affected by the virus. However, sometimes it may take up to 14 days. In any case, do not wait and seek immediate medical assistance as soon as you detect any of the above-stated unusual symptoms. If you are tested positive, start taking great care of yourself, and make sure to stay completely distant from other people. Covid-19 is a fast-spreading virus. Therefore, you need to be highly careful when treating yourself or helping someone else who is suffering from it.
Necessary Precautions to Stay Safe from Covid-19
- Keep yourself at a distance of at least 1 meter from everyone else and avoid human contact as much as possible. It is the basic source that spreads the virus.
- Make sure to always wear a mask out in public. Also, when you are indoors but maintaining physical distance is hard, do not forget to put on your mask.
- Keep cleaning your hands from time to time. Use a handwash or soap. In addition to this, always carry a sanitizer with you, and use it often.
- Cover up your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Do not miss the vaccination at any cost.
- If you do not feel well, stay indoors and consult a doctor without wasting time.
Covid-19 is a very dangerous infectious disease that may become fatal in its severity. Therefore, it is essential to detect it as soon as possible so that you can get rid of it within time. Use the free and rapid Covid testing methods and get yourself tested before it gets too late. After all, Houston wants its people healthy, and all the efforts regarding Covid testing in the city are to make sure of it only.