As we begin to reopen Rush University Medical Center for elective procedures and in-person care, we are putting your safety first. For information about COVID-19, see the latest updates. Rush accepts donations to support our response effort, staff, and patients and families.

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Understanding COVID-19 test results

COVID-19 (PCR) Test

The COVID-19 (PCR) test uses a nasopharyngeal swab to test your nasal secretions for traces of COVID-19. Please see additional information if you are a Rush employee or Rush University student.

If you have symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you can schedule a COVID-19 PCR test online. If you’d like to consult with a provider about your symptoms, getting approval to return to work/school, or about whether or not you require re-testing, please start an on-demand video visit

  • COVID-19 Positive (SARS-CoV-2 RNA Detected) Test Result

If your COVID-19 test was positive, this means that the test did detect the presence of COVID-19 in your nasal secretions. This result would suggest that you are currently infected with COVID-19.

If you had a positive COVID-19 test, please self-isolate at home as much as possible, until you have recovered from your illness based on CDC instructions (recovery defined as 24 hours with no fever AND symptoms improved AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared). Some patients with severely weakened immune systems or who were severely ill from COVID-19 (for example, required oxygen support or intensive care in the hospital) may need a longer 20 day isolation period; see the CDC website for details and consult your healthcare provider if you have questions. If there are other people in your household who do not have COVID-19, please try to separate yourself from them in a different room or area of your household, and wear a face covering if you must be around other people (see CDC isolation instructions).

More information can be found on the CDC COVID-19 website.

If you have any questions about what else you should do, please call us at (888) 352-RUSH (7874). If you would like to talk to a Rush social worker about coping with COVID 19 or connections to resources, please call 1-800-757-0202. You can also start an on-demand video visit to consult with a provider about your symptoms and test results. 

If you are having trouble breathing and need emergent care, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department to get immediate care.

  • COVID-19 Negative (SARS-CoV-2 RNA Not Detected) Test Result

If your COVID-19 test was negative, this means that the test did not detect the presence of COVID-19 in your nasal secretions. This result would suggest that you are not currently infected with COVID-19.

If you have had a negative COVID-19 test, we still recommend that you wear a face mask in public, practice frequent hand hygiene and follow social distancing recommendations, just as you were doing before your COVID-19 test.

These additional tips will help keep you safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Wear a mask when out in public
  • Practice social distancing (at least 6 feet)
  • Clean your environment
  • Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • If you develop any of these symptoms you can call us at (888) 352-RUSH (7874) or start a video visit.

You can learn more at the CDC website.

 

COVID-19 Antibody Test

Currently, Rush is offering COVID-19 antibody testing in limited situations. Antibody testing is not used to diagnose whether a person currently has COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel 2019 coronavirus. The test results may show whether a person has been infected with the virus, depending on the results. Since no standard exists yet for determining accuracy, these results are not definitive. Please see additional information if you are a Rush employee or Rush University student. 

You can learn more at the CDC website.

  • COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG Antibody Negative Test Result

If your antibody test result was negative, this means that the test did not detect any COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. This result suggests that you have not been infected with the COVID-19 virus. 

However, all tests, including the COVID-19 antibody test, can produce negative results that are incorrect (i.e., false negative results). A negative result also may occur if you have an antibody test too soon after an active COVID-19 virus infection.

In most people who recover from COVID-19, antibodies appear in their blood about 14 days after the start of the illness. We don’t know if people who have had COVID-19 and who do not develop antibodies are at risk of infection with COVID-19 in the future. Researchers at Rush and elsewhere are working hard to answer this question. In the meantime, we recommend that you wear a face mask in public, practice frequent hand hygiene and follow social distancing recommendations, just as you were doing before antibody testing. If you have any questions, please call us at (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

  • COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG Antibody Positive Test Result

If your antibody test result was positive, this means that the test shows that you have COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. This result means that you were likely infected with COVID-19 in the past.

However, all tests, including the COVID-19 antibody test, can give positive results that are incorrect (i.e., false positive results). Furthermore, we do not know whether the antibodies that were detected by this test will protect you from COVID-19 infection in the future. Researchers at Rush and elsewhere are working hard to answer this question.

In the meantime, we recommend that you continue to wear a face mask in public, practice frequent hand hygiene and follow social distancing recommendations, just as you were doing before antibody testing. If you have any questions, please call us at (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

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Rush care, on-demand

Get convenient care from home for COVID-19 concerns, cold/flu, UTI, seasonal allergies, minor injuries and more with on-demand video visits. Download the My Rush app to get started, or click here to learn more.

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