Latest Update on COVID-19
Last updated, Thursday, August 20, 2020

COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We recommend you self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms. From a clinical standpoint, testing an individual with no symptoms does not change the treatment plan and allows us to use our testing supplies on individuals who are symptomatic and are at a higher risk. If symptoms develop, call Spira Care at 913-29-SPIRA (77472) to talk with our triage nurse to determine next steps. We do not conduct antibody testing at Spira Care.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (mild or severe) call 913-29-SPIRA (77472) to speak with a triage nurse. We have a dedicated team to assist members with their care needs and questions. The nurse will talk with you about your symptoms and determine if you should:

  • Quarantine and treat at home
    • If you are symptomatic but don’t need to be seen in person, we will offer a phone or video visit as appropriate.
    • If you have definitely been exposed or think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 but are showing no symptoms (asymptomatic) we recommend you self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms. Many individuals in this situation are inclined to seek testing. However, there is a high false negative rate in this clinical scenario, meaning that test results are often negative when an individual is, in fact, infected with COVID-19.
    • There are no medical treatments recommended for individuals without symptoms who have tested positive for COVID-19. For this group of individuals, the focus turns to limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and monitoring for development of symptoms. If symptoms develop please call back to talk with the triage nurse to determine next steps.
  • If the nurse or provider determines you need to be seen and/or tested there are several options, they may offer you:
    • Schedule an appointment with a Spira Care provider (phone, virtual or in-person visit).
    • If it is determined, you need to be tested and we can accommodate the test we will schedule an appointment at one of our Spira Care Centers. Our turnaround time for test results is influenced by the laboratory workflow.
    • If it is determined you need to be tested and there is an option to go to a testing location in the Kansas City metro area with a faster turnaround time for test results, we may refer you to an outside testing location. We’ve compiled a list of testing locations around the metro area here.
    • If your symptoms are severe, we will discuss and recommend next steps and/or care options in your plan’s network.

Refer to the COVID-19 Advice for Caregivers guide to learn more.

We recommend your child self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms. If symptoms develop, call Spira Care at 913-29-SPIRA (77472) to talk with our triage nurse to determine next steps.

Test results do give an answer, but not necessarily an accurate answer. Therefore, we are aligned with the CDC recommendation to return to normal day activities based on symptoms instead of using test results only to guide your treatment plan. You should stay home until three things have happened: 1) at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared; 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and; 3) all symptoms have improved.

Because testing is not always accurate, many recommend a negative rapid test be followed by a negative viral test (PCR swab) (see descriptions below). Currently, these tests are taking a long time to return. If deciding to return to normal day activities is based on a negative rapid test, you could be putting a population at risk. This also could be part of why the spread is so rampant. We will still recommend staying home until three things have happened: 1) at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared; 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and; 3) all symptoms have improved.

New guidelines from the CDC in early August recommend a symptoms-based approach. For example, someone has what seems like allergies or basic cold symptoms that are new, they take a rapid test and the result is negative. It would not be advised to then let them back into the workplace, school, etc. With community spread of COVID-19, you must assume these new symptoms could be that and the test could be a false negative. In this scenario, the guideline is still staying home until three things have happened: 1) at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared; 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and; 3) all symptoms have improved. This would be the recommendation for a positive or negative test result, which then means the testing did not change the recommended action plan.

There are many different brands of tests in the market and the accuracy of these tests vary. Leading health organizations, including the CDC and FDA, provide the below guidance on types of COVID-19 tests, how to interpret the test results and recommended action plans.

Viral Testing

  • Testing for current infection.
  • This currently is the most accurate test although it is not perfect.
  • Accuracy depends on when the test is performed during the course of illness.
  • Reported false-negative rate ranges from 5 to 40 percent.
  • Sometimes referred to as a molecular test.
    • Done with a nasal or throat swab or by a saliva sample.
    • Results depend of laboratory but can be available in 1-15 days.
    • Other names for this test include diagnostic test, viral test, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), RT-PCR test or LAMP test.
Result Interpretation Recommended Action Plan
Positive Most likely* you do currently have an active COVID-19 infection and can give the virus to others. Stay home* and follow CDC guidance on steps to take if you are sick and talk with your physician. *If you are a healthcare or critical infrastructure worker, notify your work of your test result.
Negative A COVID-19 infection has not been confirmed. If you have symptoms, you should keep monitoring symptoms and seek medical advice about staying home and if you need to get tested again. *If you do not have symptoms, you should get tested again only if your medical provider and/or workplace tells you to.

Antigen Test

  • Done with a nasal or throat swab.
  • Results depend on laboratory but can be available in one hour or less.
  • A positive test result is usually highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a viral (molecular) test.
  • Reported false-negative rate ranges can be as high as 50 percent.
  • Sometimes referred to as a rapid diagnostic test.
  • Helpful if test is positive, but if test is negative you cannot assume that negative test is accurate.
Result Interpretation Recommended Action Plan
Positive Most likely* you do currently have an active COVID-19 infection and can give the virus to others. Stay home* and follow CDC guidance on steps to take if you are sick and talk with your physician. *If you are a healthcare or critical infrastructure worker, notify your work of your test result.
Negative A COVID-19 infection has not been confirmed - this test is not as accurate as a viral (molecular) test. If you have symptoms, you should keep monitoring symptoms and seek medical advice about staying home and if you need to get tested again. *If you do not have symptoms, you should get tested again only if your medical provider and/or workplace tells you to.

Antibody Testing

  • Testing for past infection.
  • Detectable antibodies generally take about two weeks to develop.
  • In communities with low spread of COVID-19, individual results should be in interpreted with caution.
  • Done with a finger stick or blood draw.
  • Results depend on laboratory but can be available in 1 to 3 days.
  • Sometimes referred to as serological test, serology blood test or serology test.
Result Interpretation Recommended Action Plan
Positive‡ You may have had a COVID-19 infection, but there are other viral illnesses that can cause this test to be positive. You may be protected from re-infection (have immunity), but this cannot be said with certainty. Scientists are conducting studies now to provide more information.
Negative A COVID-19 infection has not been confirmed – you likely* never had (or have not yet developed antibodies to) COVID-19 infection. You could still get COVID-19.

*No test is ever perfect. All tests occasionally result in false positive results (the test result should be negative because you DO NOT have COVID-19 but comes back positive) or false negative results (the test result should be positive because you DO have COVID-19 but comes back negative). Sometimes the results are not definitive (the result is unclear, and you don’t know if it is positive or negative). For this and other reasons, results should always be reviewed by a healthcare professional.

† Viral tests are typically performed on respiratory specimens such as nasal swabs or throat swabs. They test for the presence of the virus, usually by testing for the virus’s RNA or sometimes by testing for the virus’s proteins (“antigen testing”). Antigen testing may be less sensitive than tests for the virus’s RNA. If your antigen test is negative, please ask your healthcare provider if additional testing with an RNA test is needed and how long you should stay home.

‡ Antibody testing, also called “serologic testing” or “serology”, is typically performed on a blood sample. Ideally, the results show whether you have ever been infected with the virus in the past or may be currently infected. Antibody tests check for antibodies that appear in the blood between about one and three weeks after symptom onset and may remain as long as a lifetime. Antibody tests may be positive while a person is infected. It is not yet known whether these antibodies protect against reinfection with the COVID-19 virus. For many other similar viruses, antibodies are protective for years or longer, but we do not yet have adequate data to know for COVID-19.

Remember COVID-19 testing does not change the treatment plan.

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms (like fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell) you should stay home and separate yourself from others in your house.
  • If you think you are sick or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call Spira Care and talk with our dedicated team to field your COVID-19 questions.
  • If you are sick and need an appointment, please call to talk with our dedicated team to answer your COVID-19 questions. We will work with you to schedule an appointment and prepare for your arrival.
  • We recommend that anyone who has symptoms, regardless of testing, not return to normal day activities and stay home until three things have happened: 1) at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared; 2) you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and; 3) all symptoms have improved.

Isolation is reserved for people who are ill. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious illness from people who are healthy.

Quarantine is reserved for people who have been exposed but who are not ill. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

For more information, review the COVID-19 distancing guide.

You must be seen by a Spira Care provider (in-person, virtual visit) to inquire about a provider note, however it is up to the provider on if a note is needed and is not guaranteed.

You must be seen by a Spira Care provider (in-person, virtual visit) to inquire about a provider note. The provider would have to confirm an underlying condition and it is up to the provider on if a note is needed and is not guaranteed.

This is a constantly changing situation. The CDC will provide the latest updates, resources for our community and more here. We will also provide updates at SpiraCare.com/COVID-19.

For a complete list of questions and answers including costs and public health testing sites, visit the Blue KC COVID-19 information page.