What Is a PCR Test? Here’s What You Need to Know

A female doctor with a mask and gloves inserts a PCR nasal swab test into the left nostril of a male patient.


With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much alive in our communities, it is essential to understand the types of testing available to help us detect coronavirus efficiently and provide necessary treatment to reduce symptom severity for those who need it.

Testing is also an essential step in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk of infecting those who are more vulnerable to experiencing severe symptoms that may require hospitalization.

COVID-19 can be detected in two ways during active infection: a PCR test and a rapid test.

At State Urgent Care, we offer comprehensive and accurate PCR testing for COVID-19 every day with no appointment necessary. Don’t delay results; get tested now.

What Is a PCR Test?

A PCR test is also known as a molecular test. They are considered the gold standard in COVID-19 testing, as results are nearly 100% accurate.

It works by detecting the presence of molecular material unique to the COVID-19 virus.

A medical professional performs a PCR test using a nasal swab inserted and rotated into one or both nostrils for sample collection.

After the patient-testing portion is completed, the sampled nasal swab will be analyzed in a laboratory to determine whether COVID-19 molecular material is present. If so, you would be considered COVID-19 positive.

If not, you may still have the virus in your system to a lesser degree, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms. We encourage everyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to isolate themselves until they feel well again.  

Who Should Get a PCR Test?

We recommend that you get tested if you have been directly exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with coronavirus 

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19 That Prompt a PCR Test?

COVID-19 symptoms range from mild to severe and differ slightly from person to person.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Congestion
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (especially in children)
  • Sore throat

In some instances, people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms.  

If you’ve been directly exposed to someone with the virus, we encourage you to get tested following exposure to mitigate the risk of passing the virus, even if you have no symptoms.

How Long Do Standard PCR Test Results Take?

Although most PCR results are not instant, they are provided rather quickly.

In most instances, patients receive the results of a standard PCR test between 3 and 5 days after testing. Some are provided in as little as 24 hours.

It is important to note that the timeline for results is based on the laboratory’s overall schedule and the current influx of COVID-19 tests.

Results will never take longer than a week. While waiting on results, you should quarantine yourself away from others.

Rapid PCR Testing is Available Now

State Urgent Care is equipped to provide Starkville and neighboring communities with fast, affordable COVID tests for travel, work, and school.

With us, you can get your results in 30 minutes or less by choosing our rapid PCR test option.

You don’t need insurance to get testing and results completed quickly. PCR rapid tests are only $150 and no appointments are necessary.

If you need COVID-19 test results quickly, we’ve got you covered. Stop in today.

Get Tested for COVID-19 Now at State Urgent Care

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, you should get tested.

At State Urgent Care, we offer PCR testing seven days a week. Simply walk in or schedule an appointment online for your PCR COVID test, don’t delay; get tested now.