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? All the information on COVID-19 tests

Test Results

When and how are test results received?

In PCR tests, the sample is sent to the laboratory, and the result is received within 48 hours from the time of sampling (delays are to be expected due to the workload in the laboratories). Results are received through the HMOs and they can be viewed on the HMO's website or application or received through the HMOs' telephone hotline.

Supervised rapid tests do not require laboratory procedures and therefore allow for results to be received within 15 to 30 minutes, in the facility where the test was administered. The result will usually be sent by text message to your mobile phone as well.

Updating the results in the Ministry of Health's systems

Results of rapid tests administered in one of the authorized testing facilities, as well as the result of PCR tests administered in one of the testing facilities by the HMOs or the Home Front Command – will be automatically updated in the Ministry of Health's systems.
Results of private rapid tests administered at the entrance to places that comply with the Green Pass guidance are not updated in the Ministry of Health's systems at all.

PCR test results

Result Significance Required Action
Positive Significant amount of coronavirus genetic material was found in the sample.

You need to go into isolation, or return to isolation, immediately. HMO representatives will contact you to provide you with additional explanation and guidance.

Further information for those who are required to stay in isolation

Further information for confirmed COVID-19 patients

Negative No coronavirus genetic material was found in the sample. However, it may be possible that in early infection stages the amount of the genetic material of the virus may be too small to allow for detection.

Unvaccinated and non-infected individuals who were ordered to go into isolation following close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or upon arriving in Israel from abroad – are required to complete the duration of their isolation.

Further information for those who are required to stay in isolation

Further information on isolation reduction

Borderline-positive

Small amount of coronavirus genetic material was found in the sample, likely due to one of the following reasons:
1. The test was administered at a very early stage of the development of the disease and it is expected that a repeat test will produce a positive result.
2. The test was administered at the recovery stage.
3. Poor quality of the test kit or the sample.

You need to take a repeat test within 24 to 72 hours after the first test and to stay in isolation until the result is received (you are not required to self-report your isolation).

* Received result is only true for the time of testing. It is impossible to infer from it whether you've been previously infected with coronavirus.

Receiving a false result

COVID-19 tests of all types have a margin of error, and therefore it is possible to receive a wrong result (also called "false result" in medical terms).

  • False negative result – the result is negative even though the test subject is indeed infected with coronavirus. Most errors of this type occur when the test was administered in very early stages after infection, or at a stage before the onset of sample, or as a result of a low quality test kit or sample.
  • False positive result – the result is positive even though the test subject is not actually infected with coronavirus. The probability of a false positive result is exceedingly low.
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