It has been, as they say, a year we will not soon forget. In fact, it’s been 18 months for the books and counting. Do you remember what you were doing back in early 2020? Just mere weeks after the New Year began, the world came to an abrupt and alarming pause. There was panic floating in the air and a deep sense of uncertainty permeating the streets. People were getting sick all over the globe, and no one seemed to know how to stop it.

There have been numerous lockdowns where people worldwide have been inside their homes, avoiding social interaction and the chance of contracting the virus at all costs. It’s been an isolating and challenging time, and many people have experienced devastating losses of family members and friends. Others continue to live with long-haul COVID symptoms, desperately working with healthcare providers to try and understand how to get better. Then there are the healthcare, frontline, and essential workers, who have been putting their lives on the line, helping to get the world back to some shade of normal. Such individuals continue to work hard every single day.

It hasn’t been easy. And while we’re certainly not at the end of this pandemic, we’ve come a long way since those dark, unknown preliminary days of the virus’s outbreak. Over 75% of Canadians have had at least one vaccine shot as of June 2021, and it looks like this summer is going to be a lot less stressful than last year’s.

Stores and restaurants are slowly and carefully opening up, and people are increasingly getting their second COVID vaccine dose. However, while vaccines are crucial to getting back to normal and curbing the virus, there remains a critical need for regular covid testing to maintain low international COVID-19 numbers.

We’re Integracare, and we provide home health care in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our community’s Seniors’ health and safety are our priority, and we’ve been offering home personal support and nursing services to Clients for over 30 years. But when the virus started to unravel last year, we wanted to offer our specialized healthcare services to the GTA in a more direct way to help curb the virus’s spread. We wanted to play our part and provide PCR COVID Testing to Torontonians, right in their homes or workplaces. We knew that the value of COVID-19 PCR testing among the community was crucial to getting our lives back to normal.

Integracare provides Concierge PCR Molecular COVID testing in Toronto and all across the GTA to help businesses and individuals get back to normal. We’re firm believers that regular rapid COVID testing is a necessary component of the fight against the virus because it’s the only scientific way to prove you don’t have the virus. For example, while the chances are lower, it’s still possible to get the virus after receiving both vaccines. So we all must continue to play it safe.

covid testing

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Have you had a COVID test yet? If you’re unfamiliar with how they work, we’ve created a guide on the different types of COVID tests that exist. We’ve also outlined the specific groups of people that can benefit from receiving Integracare’s ongoing testing services.

Antibody (Serology) Tests

Antibody — or serology — tests take a sample of your blood to check for antibodies (protein molecules that are found in the blood, intended to attack viruses, bacteria, and transplanted organs). Your body makes antibodies after it’s been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

When you take this type of COVID test and receive positive results and have antibodies floating around, it means that you were infected with the virus at some point within the last few months. Unfortunately, the test can’t tell how long ago you were infected. But having antibodies to the virus may protect you from getting infected with COVID-19 again — although it’s unclear at this point how much protection these antibodies may offer or for how long.

Serology tests aren’t conducted to diagnose the virus early since they don’t detect the virus itself. However, they do help with the following:

  • Understanding how much the virus has been spreading in communities
  • Estimating how many people have had the virus
  • Determining which essential public measures to put in place

While they’re suitable for collecting broad information, if you want immediate COVID results, it’s more effective to get another type of COVID test — a diagnostic test.

What are Diagnostic Tests?

A diagnostic test is either invasive or non-invasive, meaning that an invasive test involves puncturing the skin. A non-invasive diagnostic test doesn’t involve creating a break in the skin.

For testing COVID-19, healthcare specialists use non-invasive antigen and PCR diagnostic testing. Such testing procedures keep you and your loved ones stronger and safer than ever because they provide accurate results within a matter of hours.

PCR and Antigen Tests

At Integracare, we provide PCR Molecular Testing as well as Rapid Antigen and Rapid PCR Testing. The PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) Molecular and Antigen types of COVID tests (also called “swab” tests) detect viral proteins from the nasal cavity. While the two tests are similar because they both require swabs, there are also differences.

For example, while lab PCR tests are sent to a lab for testing where it requires heating and cooling and a process that takes several hours to complete, Rapid Antigen tests work by mixing your sample with a solution that releases viral proteins.

This combination is applied to a strip of paper that contains a custom antibody that will bind the proteins if they’re present. Similar to an at-home pregnancy test, the result reflects as a band on a strip of paper. The Rapid COVID test process takes about 20 minutes to complete, and no need for lab work.

Collection Method

The sample collection method for the PCR and Antigen tests are quick and painless to administer — however, some more than others. Swab tests come in a couple of different formats, such as the nasal (nasopharyngeal) and throat (oropharyngeal) tests. Sometimes the throat and nasal tests can be a little uncomfortable since a healthcare professional will insert a swab far back in your nasal cavity or throat.

integracare covid testing

Credit: Laura James via Pexels

However, at Integracare, we stick to utilizing Anterior Nasal collection method because they’re painless and the least invasive. Such tests involve a health practitioner gently inserting swabs inside the front of your nostrils, and the sample is then assessed.

Integracare Testing Services

Our mission is to deliver reliable Concierge PCR Molecular COVID Testing with accurate results to folks all over the GTA. Our Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) administer all of our services and conduct them with professionalism and compassion. As a trusted home healthcare provider in the GTA, we’re committed to offering our mobile COVID testing services wherever is most comfortable for our Clients.

Our RPNs can come directly to your place of residence or work so you can get the care you need wherever and whenever is convenient for you. Are you wondering if you qualify for our Concierge COVID Testing services? Let’s take a look at who can benefit from receiving a mobile COVID-19 test.

Who Can Benefit from Concierge COVID-19 Testing

There are many people who can benefit from mobile COVID testing services. We administer tests to symptomatic and asymptomatic people who prefer to conduct the test in the privacy and comfort of home.

We also recommend that if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit the Ministry of Health site, take the self-assessment, and follow their instructions. So, if you’re experiencing severe symptoms or trouble breathing, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away instead of waiting to get your test results.

Our Safety Measures

We’re continuing to take every safety measure possible to protect our Clients and staff from COVID-19 throughout the entire testing process. So when you make an appointment with us, you can expect:

  • Pre-screening
  • Social Distancing
  • Staff Screening
  • FULL Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including Mask, Isolation Gown, Face Shield, and Nitrile Gloves
  • Contactless Payment

We also believe that mobile testing at home provides less chance of exposing yourself to the virus since you won’t have to go to a crowded testing site.

We also offer mobile COVID testing services at the workplace. Our services are convenient, comfortable, and fast. Are you working outside of the home right now? Read on to see if your type of work would benefit from our COVID testing services.

International Travel

Travel has changed quite significantly within the last 18 months. Remember the days when you could merely show up to the airport, passport in hand, and hop on a plane? Mind you, customs has always been there to slow things down a little, but standing in line for a few minutes doesn’t even compare to what it’s like to fly in the current COVID-19 world.

Most airlines won’t let you board the plane without showing proof of negative COVID results. Are you travelling internationally for work? Or perhaps now that you’re finally vaccinated, you’re taking a trip to see friends and loved ones. Whatever your travelling purpose is, you’re going to need negative COVID-19 test results to show at the airport.

Integracare conducts COVID PCR testing and documentation for cross-border and international travel. We can provide results in roughly 24 hours from an accredited lab, and your certificate will have all of the information required for your international travels.

covid air travel

Credit: Anna Shvets via Pexels

We’ve issued certificates that have been accepted everywhere our Clients have travelled to, including Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, the Caribbean, the United Emirates, and more.

The Film and Television Industry

If you live in Toronto or the GTA, the chances of you, or someone you know, working in the film and television industry are pretty high. The industry contributes billions of dollars each year to Ontario’s economy, and it’s one of the few artistic industries that encourages creativity and pays its employees decently, so many creative types flock to this type of work.

It’s also incredibly demanding, involving long hours and hands-on work. And over the majority of the last 18 months, people have been continuing to work in close quarters with colleagues, day-in and day-out. The show must go on, as they say.

Do you work on television or film sets and studios? Getting tested for COVID-19 is imperative to the health and safety of yourself and your colleagues. Integracare is proud to offer on-site COVID test services on both an individual and reoccurring basis.

Our team of nurses will come right to your place of work to administer the Rapid PCR COVID-19 tests. The testing process is quick, so that you can get right back to the movies in no time!

Returning to Work or School

People in Ontario are increasingly returning to work and school due to the vaccine roll-out. However, you still have to move with caution. It’s essential to get tested and ensure that all employees working at the office, classroom, or on the floor are COVID-free. And testing is the only scientific way to determine who is and who isn’t carrying the virus.

Our nursing team will report directly to your workplace or school to administer COVID tests. We can drop by for one visit or come by multiple times to administer tests to employees and students. We recommend utilizing such services regularly since you’ll want to ensure that your work or school space is virus-free for the long-term.

If you’d rather, you can always receive our testing services from the privacy of your home.

Remember That This Isn’t Over

It might sound obvious to most people, but it’s critical to remember that the world’s battle against COVID-19 isn’t over. Getting tested for the virus, maintaining social distancing when you’re in public spaces, and wearing a mask are all part of the “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

While everyone is excited and happy to move forward with on-going scientific research and vaccines, the virus is still here. In addition, new variants are popping up, such as the Delta variant, and health experts urge people to maintain wearing masks and physical distancing. Check out our COVID-19 FAQ to find tips on what you can do to protect yourself and prevent the virus from spreading.

For peace of mind — whether for work, school, travel, or just to put your worries at ease — give us a call to see how you can get a professionally administered COVID-19 test at home or wherever suits you best. Our PCR Molecular COVID test service is fast, effective, and will provide you quick, efficient results.