The CDC and Eastern Idaho Public Health have provided the following information to assist in answering this question.
To get tested for the active COVID-19 PCR test, you will need a doctor’s order. Once you have an order from a health care provider of your choice, no appointment or call is necessary. You can show up to any one of our drive-thru testing sites (see locations below) any time between 9AM and 4PM and stay in your vehicle while being tested.
There are currently three ways that you may be able to get a doctor’s order.
This testing is done by collecting a nasal swab at one of our drive-thru locations in Idaho Falls and Pocatello.
3908 Washington Parkway, Idaho Falls
We have moved! This is the new drive-thru location as of August 11, 2020. As you arrive you will see signs and cones set up to help direct you as you arrive to our new location.
550 Memorial Drive, Pocatello
In Pocatello, we have partnered with ISU/Southeast Idaho Public Health to set up a drive-thru collection site at the Holt Arena parking lot (Northwest corner near the first ticket booth).
100 S. Center Street
We have partnered with BYU-Idaho Student Health Center in Rexburg to provide COVID-19 PCR testing. This testing location is on campus located at the corner of East Viking Street and 2nd East. Look for the directional signs at the Kimball parking lot.
Testing is available for BOTH STUDENTS AND NON-STUDENTS.
Results are typically delivered in 48-72 hours, however a recent surge in testing nationwide, shortage of testing supplies and reagents and backlog with all major national laboratories has resulted in 7-10 day turnaround in many cases. Please let us know if your result is time sensitive due to upcoming travel or medical procedures or return-to-work requirements. We will do our best to expedite those cases, but we can’t guarantee a specific turnaround time due to the constantly changing circumstances and the national demand for testing and testing supplies.
The best and quickest way to get your result once you’ve been tested is to register for an account on OUR PATIENT PORTAL where you will be notified as soon as your result is complete. From the portal site you will be able to produce the documentation needed to show your negative result for an employer or travel authority.
COVID-19 Antibody Testing (sometimes called serology or igG testing) is different than PCR testing and DOES NOT indicate an active infection. This test indicates presence of antibodies in your body which are specific to COVID-19 and means that your body has previously triggered an immune response to fight a COVID-19 infection. Since it takes your body time to generate these antibodies in numbers adequate for detection, you may get a negative result for this test even if you are actively infected. It can take 10-14 days after infection for sufficient antibodies to be present in your body to result in a positive test.
We do perform antibody testing locally and will typically have a result within 24 hours. Please note that this test requires a blood draw and CAN NOT be done from a nasal swab like the PCR testing.
COVID PCR testing should be performed if a patient is experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus infection. COVID IgG Antibody testing should be performed 10-14 days after a possible infection and after all symptoms are no longer present.
There are multiple states requiring anybody who visits from out of state to provide proof that they are COVID-19 free upon arrival. For Alaska, the only adequate proof currently being accepted is a negative result from a PCR-based nasal swab test performed within 72 hours of departure. Since testing times can vary (see question above “HOW LONG DO RESULTS TAKE?) we recommend that you come in to be tested at our facility as close to 72 hours before your flight departure as possible (e.g., if your flight leaves at 6AM on a Thursday, you should plan to come in the Monday morning prior when we open at 8AM).
If your time frame does not allow for a test result within 72 hours of departure, there is an exception, 5-day rule allowed. In addition to providing your negative test result performed within 5 days of departure, you will be required to have another test performed at the airport in Alaska. Assuming a negative result to that test, you will be allowed to continue your travel as planned.
To provide proof of your test and negative result, you can pick up a printed report from our office if your test is completed before you depart, although with current turn-around times for testing, it’s unlikely your result will be available within 72 hours. The best way to get your result once you’ve begun travel is to register for an account on OUR PATIENT PORTAL where you will be notified as soon as your result is complete. From the portal site you will be able to produce the documentation needed to show your negative result. More information can be found in THIS TRAVELER FAQ DOCUMENT from the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
If you would prefer, you can work directly with LabCorp to perform your own test collection at home without needing a doctor’s order. Please note that without a doctor’s order, your insurance will likely not pay for the testing and you’ll be required to pay LabCorp directly for the test. See the LabCorp website for more information on this option. Since this option puts you in direct contact with LabCorp, Express Lab will not be able to provide any information about the testing procedure, time frame for turn-around or your test results. This information is provided here only to make you aware of another option that may be more convenient for you.
Due to the nature of COVID-19 and the public health emergency which it poses, privacy rights have been amended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Click here for details.