What test to take and when, where are the tests administered, how long does it take for results to arrive and what is a serologic test?

Test Types

What is tested in COVID-19 tests?

COVID-19 tests search for coronavirus (or the genetic material thereof, to be exact) in the oral and nasal cavity. This way it is possible to tell whether someone has been infected with coronavirus, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Those who tested positive on a COVID-19 test is considered to be confirmed COVID-19 patients (sometimes they are also called "active patients").


Types of COVID-19 tests

There are two types of medically valid COVID-19 tests:

  1. PCR test is a test for the diagnosis of COVID-19 patients and it is considered to be very precise. Results are supposed to be received up to 48 hours after sampling, but delays in result times are to be expected during peak times.
  2. Antigen test is slightly less sensitive than the PCR test but it allows for rapid detection, as it is not sent to a lab.
    There are 2 types of antigen tests:
    • Authorized test (also called supervised) – a fast test administered by professional samplers in one of the authorized testing sites. Result is usually received within 15 to 30 minutes after sampling.
    • Home antigen test– rapid test that can be privately purchased and self-administered at home.

Results of the PCR test and the authorized antigen test are recorded in the Ministry of Health’s computer systems, so they can be used to confirm the COVID-19 verification, and subsequently obtain a recovery certificate.
Since home antigen testing is not recorded in the Ministry of Health’s computer systems, it cannot be used to verify a person as recovering.


Serologic test

Serologic test is a blood test for the detection of antibodies to coronavirus (as opposed to COVID-19 tests, which are designed to detect the virus itself using swabs).

There are two types of serologic tests:

  • Anti-S type serologic test – if you have not been vaccinated, positive result on this serologic test indicates that there are antibodies in your body which may be indicative of recovery. This test is not intended for the confirmation of COVID-19 among COVID-19 patients who are already symptomatic, for those who are
  • already considered to be recovered or for those who have already been vaccinated.
    Anti-N type serologic test – can also confirm recovery from COVID-19 among vaccinated individuals.

Serologic tests are administered in the HNO clinics at the discretion of healthcare worker or upon arrival in Israel, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's policy on the matter.

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