COVID-19 Testing & CareWe're here for your coronavirus concerns.
Get COVID-19 testing in Bellingham
Care Medical Group performs COVID-19 nasal swab tests and antibody tests right at our Bellingham clinic. Anyone can get tested, with no appointment or referral necessary. Instructions: Please call us at 360-734-4300 ext 6 for COVID-19 Testing information. We provide curbside assistance at our location. Please come prepared for a wait time of at least 2-3 hours due to our high patient volume. At times, we may close early due to high patient volume so please call ahead after 3pm to ensure availability. Masks are required when visiting our facility.
We follow strict CDC guidelines in our COVID-19 testing protocol. Care Medical Group partners with NW Pathology in Bellingham, WA for COVID Testing. Turnaround time for results is currently 5 days.
COVID-19 Testing Options
Nasal Swab Test
If you are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19 (cough, fever, body aches, fatigue, recent loss of taste), we can perform a molecular nasal swab test to determine if you currently have the virus. There are two major types: a PCR test and an antigen test. PCR tests checks for a virus’s genetic material, while antigen tests look for specific proteins on a virus’s surface. The viral test does not indicate if you were infected in the past.
If you believe you had the virus and are now symptom-free, we offer a serological test for antibodies and potential immunity. This test checks for the presence of antibodies to coronavirus in the blood and is used to detect a past infection.
When faced with COVID-19, your body’s immune system will produce immunoglobulins, IgM and IgG, to fight the infection. The level of IgM antibody begins to rise 1 week after the initial infection, while the rise in IgG usually appears after 14 days. Elevated IgG levels can last for 6 months or even several years. By testing for the presence of these antibodies, we are able to determine if a patient was previously infected by the coronavirus. The test does not diagnose an active infection or guarantee that you are protected from reinfection.
COVID-19 is a new virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. It belongs to the same family of virus as the common cold, SARS and MERS. However, it seems to be more contagious than these related coronaviruses. According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus primarily spreads through airborne respiratory droplets, close contact, and contaminated surfaces.
Reported cases of COVID-19 range from mild illness to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. Older adults and immunosuppressed persons are at higher risk of complications. Some carriers experience no symptoms at all.
There is currently no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Medical teams and researchers around the globe are working tirelessly to develop prevention and care options. However, a vaccine likely won’t be available for another year. Until then, we will need to utilize wide-spread testing, quarantines, masking, and social distancing to minimize the number of people who contract the disease.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is handwashing important to prevent COVID-19?
Washing hands for 20+ seconds with soap and clean water is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is because the disease can live on surfaces for hours or days. If you touch a contaminated surface, you can infect yourself and/or spread the virus to other surfaces.
Can I use hand sanitizer in place of soap and water?
Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be an effective tool to combat COVID-19. That said, 20+ seconds of washing in soap and clean water is the most effective way to sanitize your hands. But, if your hands are not heavily soiled or greasy, or when you have no other choice, hand sanitizer may be an acceptable substitute.
Should I wear a face mask when I go out in public?
The CDC does recommend that you wear a cloth face covering in public settings. Wearing a mask or other covering provides a degree of protection to help you avoid infection, and also helps make sure you do not spread the disease. This is especially important because the disease can be spread by people who are not experiencing any symptoms.
How do I sanitize the mail?
After receiving a delivery or collecting your mail, the CDC recommends washing with soap or using hand sanitizer. Specifically, they say:
- After receiving your delivery or bringing home your takeout food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Why is Flattening the Curve Important?
By flattening the curve, we slow the rate at which people are exposed to COVID-19. This is important because the disease has the ability to spread very fast, overwhelming hospitals and other resources. By taking steps to slow things down, we give our systems the best chance possible to provide the treatment and care that will be needed.
What treatments are available for COVID-19?
There are currently no treatments available to directly combat COVID-19, although there are ways to treat many of the symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cough syrup, along with plenty of rest and fluids may be all you need for a mild case. More severe cases may involve hospitalizations and require the use of respirators or other life-saving treatments.
Can I take ibuprofen if I think I have COVID-19?
You may have heard that taking ibuprofen is not advised for patients who have, or may have, COVID-19. This was reported in mid-March based on a report that stemmed from a post on Twitter by the French Health Minister. After doctors and scientists from the WHO and CDC weighed in, it became clear that there is no compelling evidence that connects ibuprofen with worsening symptoms from COVID-19, or any other related complications.