Covid testing: when, where and how
The antibody test will tell you if you have had Covid-19 in the past 30-40 days, but not if you are currently infected
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. If you think you might have contracted Covid-19, what do you do? If you are a private patient and not part of a government insurance plan, chances are you receive your health care from a private doctor or medical practice in Lakeside. If so, currently you cannot get a test locally that will give you an indication of whether or you are infected. You can get an antibody test locally which will tell you if you have been infected in the past 30-40 days but not if you are currently infected now.
The Chapala Medical Center is a good example of the process most expats will go through. If you arrive at their office without symptoms and request a test you will referred to the Chopo Clinic in Riberas. Chopo will administer the test by appointment, walk in or in your home, but requires a prescription. In-clinic patients should be symptom-free and fast with only water for 4 hours prior to the test. The cost is $1149 with a $300 fee if you opt to do at home.
Other laboratories that will provide an antibody test include the Unidad Clinica Diagnostica in Guadalajara, the Nucleo de Diagnostica Branch in Guadalajara, and an in- home antibody test is available in Lakeside from Unidad de Patologia Clinica (UPC) in Guadalajara. Tests average around $1000 -$1500 pesos and fasting requirements differ among the labs.
The antibody test will tell you if you have had Covid-19 in the past 30-40 days, but not if you are currently infected. For this you must go to Guadalajara, where there a number of labs certified by the Instituto de Diagnóstico y Referencia Epidemiológica (INDRE). If you exhibit symptoms of Covid-19, Chapala Med will refer you to the UPC, the first lab in Guadalajara to be certified by INDRE. UPC offers a Real Time PCR Coronavirus Sars -CoV-2 test, but notes that the results are not infallible. Also, they must report the results to the Ministry of Health as well as to you. Their website states that results are returned in 72 hours or less.
The HIV and Immunodeficiency Research Institute of the University Center of Health Sciences of the University of Guadalajara (UDG), and the Support Laboratory for Epidemiological Surveillance of the Western Research Center (CIBO) in Guadalajara also provide Real Time tests. The Ministry of Health sites provides extensive information on Covid-19, including testing at https://coronavirus.gob.mx/informacion-accesible/
The UdG has also established a Covid Call Center for people who think they have Covid-19 to schedule a free Real Time test, which can deliver results in 72 hours. You can call 333-540-3001 or the Jalisco Covid-19 Hotline 333-823-3220.
In addition to the laboratories listed in the story in this week’s Laguna as providing the antibody tests, a test for active Covid-19 infection is now available in Lakeside at Laboratorio Cliníco El Lago. The lab offers the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) or serologic test which can reveal RNA particles of the virus, indicating an active infection even before symptoms appear. The test is administered with a nose or throat swab. Appointments are required; the lab is open 8 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday and 8 – 1 pm Saturdays, although appointments for the PCR test may be set outside of these times. The cost is 4500 pesos. For information and appointments call 76 765 6260 or go to the lab at Juárez 649 A in Chapala.
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