Covid-19: in which cases should you get tested?

According to the government, nearly 700,000 PCR screening tests are carried out every week on French territory. Since July 25, these virological tests have been available to everyone without a prescription and reimbursed by Health Insurance.

Covid-19: when should you get tested?

To reduce waiting times, the State has extended the list of health professionals authorized to perform screening tests. In addition to biologists and laboratory technicians, nurses, orderlies, firefighters, rescuers, odontology, maieutics and pharmacy students can perform PCR tests.

The Ministry of Health and Solidarity recommends in particular to be tested by PCR:

  • as soon as the first symptoms appear, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell
  • after contact with a sick person
  • on return from a risky situation

During the virological test, cells are taken from the back of the nose using a swab. Part of the genetic material collected is then amplified using a technique called PCR (polymerase chain reaction). This test can detect a person infected with the virus, but it does not identify the virus before symptoms appear or after they disappear.

What are the different Covid-19 screening tests?

On its online platform, the Ministry of Health also targets categories of individuals considered to be at greater risk of being infected with the coronavirus. The institution cites in particular, fragile people, residents in accommodation structures, the staff of these structures and people living in vulnerable territories due to their density or the distance to access to care.

In addition to virological tests, other tests can detect Covid-19:

  • Serological tests: they are based on the analysis of a blood sample. These tests are used to look for antibodies made by the body to fight against infection with Sars-CoV-2. This blood test helps identify people who have been affected by Covid-19.
  • rapid tests: these are also serological tests. They detect the presence of antibodies in the body with a single drop of blood.



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