SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – While the demand for testing remains steadily high in our area, health experts say there is a certain time to get tested if you think you’ve been exposed.

Alberta Owens of Springfield is getting tested for COVID-19, and its inspiring her to also finally sign up to get vaccinated against the virus. “I haven’t gotten my shots, because I’m scared. But I’m going to do it now. I am still on the fence because I am keeping it 100; as black people it is very scary for us,” said Owens.

The demand to get tested is still high here in the state, and the Massachusetts DPH says people should get tested if they show symptoms of COVID, or five days following a known close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID.

There are two types of COVID-19 tests that are widely available: one is rapid antigen tests. Rapid antigen tests, such as at-home testing kits, can be easily used, and the results are available in as few as 15 minutes.

Another test is the PCR tests which are clinically administered tests, and results are usually within days of the test. DPH says that rapid antigen tests are an acceptable alternative to a PCR test in most situations and does not need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

However, people that have COVID symptoms and test negative with a rapid antigen test should isolate and either repeat an antigen test or get a PCR test in 24 to 48 hours if they continue to show symptoms.

Don’t forget that most private insurance companies cover both PCR and antigen testing and will reimburse for the over-the counter COVID-19 tests.

Plus you can now order free at home rapid COVID tests from the federal government, you can do that either on line or over the phone.