COVID-19 FAQs


Thank you for considering Lightspeed Testing for your COVID testing needs!

COVID is complicated and we know you have lots of questions. Take a look at our FAQs below – if you have a question that wasn’t answered, please reach out to us so we can help!

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. This virus and disease is now a pandemic affecting the entire world.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  Some coronaviruses cause the common cold, while others cause more severe illnesses like SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, and fatigue. Others have a loss of taste or smell, sore throat, body aches, or diarrhea. These symptoms may be mild at first, but can progress to more severe illness quickly.  Getting your vaccine (and booster) can prevent severe illness or death from COVID.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads in the air, so wearing masks and improving ventilation can help prevent the transmission of COVID.

  • My COVID test result was positive – what does that mean?

    You are infected with COVID-19. Immediately isolate yourself (stay away from others) for 5-10 days.  You should obtain a pulse oximeter device (from a drugstore or online) to monitor your oxygen levels at home. Call your doctor or come to the Emergency Department if you have difficulty breathing, confusion, rapid pulse, low oxygen levels (less than 93%), or feel you are getting worse. New treatments for early COVID-19 may be available - talk to your doctor for details.Any close contacts should be tested, and any unvaccinated close contacts should quarantine for 14 days after exposure. Quarantine rules can vary based on location, employment, and vaccination status.

    The Monterey and Santa Cruz County 211 help lines can help answer questions, and can also help with housing, funds, food, or other resources to help you isolate from others. You can also call (831) 769-8700 in Monterey County, or (831) 455-4242 in Santa Cruz County.

    For more details, go to LightspeedTesting.net/results, or visit COVID19.CA.gov.

  • My COVID test result was negative – what does that mean?

    Your test did not detect the presence of the COVID virus in your nose.  COVID tests are good, but not perfect. Antigen tests are excellent in detecting when someone is contagious with COVID-19, but can miss an early infection. PCR/NAA tests are more sensitive, but can still miss a very early infection.

    If you have COVID symptoms, are not fully vaccinated, or have had a possible exposure to COVID, you should have a repeat test done in the next several days. If you are vaccinated and infected, you may have symptoms several days before a test turns positive (and you become contagious).

    For more details, go to LightspeedTesting.net/results, or visit COVID19.CA.gov.

  • I registered and was tested before, do I need to register again?

    No - once you register your information in our EHR system, Primary, you do not need to register again.  If your registration information has changed, please contact us or let our on site staff know and they will assist you in updating.

  • I got something in the mail saying I owed you money. I thought you said testing was free?

    These are incorrect statements from your insurance company. There is never a cost to you for our tests. Any statements saying “you pay” or “your responsibility” can be ignored - we will NEVER send you a bill for testing.

    Did you get a bill from your insurance company? Click here for an explanation

  • I got a check in the mail from my insurance company. What do I do with this?

    Some insurance companies will send you a check, expecting us to bill you. Instead, please write “Pay to Lightspeed Testing” on the back of the check and sign it, and send it to us at: P.O. Box 656, North Olmsted, OH 44070.

    If you’ve already cashed the check, please call us at 888-879-3830 to discuss options.

    Did you get a bill from your insurance company? Click here for an explanation

  • Why do you require insurance for PCR tests?

    Because we don’t have a fixed lab facility, we run our PCR tests on individual devices. This is much more expensive than large-scale labs that run high volumes of tests; because of this, the cost for our PCR testing may exceed what we might be paid by the government fund. If you need a PCR test and don’t have insurance, please visit https://www.montereycountyvaccines.com/testing-sites for a list of testing sites.

  • How long does it take to perform the test?

    About 30 seconds of your time. The test will take an additional 15-20 minutes to run.

  • What if I don’t have health insurance?

    The government will cover the cost of antigen testing.

  • Why do you have to ask for my insurance information?

    We charge your insurance - if you have it - to cover the cost of testing. We will never send you a bill for testing.

  • How much does it cost?

    There is no cost to anyone for our antigen tests.

    Our PCR tests are covered by U.S. health insurance, but there is a fee if you are not using insurance.

  • What kind of tests do you offer?

    We offer antigen tests as well as PCR and NAA (nucleic acid) tests.

  • Do you have an office that is available for testing?

    No, we perform pop-up and mobile testing, so we don’t have a permanent office space to test people.

  • Where can I get tested near me?

    We have a variety of testing sites throughout the Monterey Peninsula, Salinas, and Santa Cruz areas. Please go to our locations for details.

  • Is this one of those “brain tickling” swabs?

    No! We use a nostril swab - it only goes inside the tip of your nose.

  • Can I swab myself?

    Yes! All of our tests use observed self swabbing. You can do it yourself!

  • Can I swab my child’s nose?

    Yes! You are welcome to swab your child’s nose if they cannot do it themselves.

  • Can you swab my nose for me?

    No, our license requires that you swab your own nose.

    The only exception is for pre-surgery testing, which may require a nasopharyngeal swab.  Please contact us to arrange this.

  • How long until I get my results?

    Our antigen tests will have results available in about 30 minutes.

    Our PCR tests will have results available the same day, often in 2-3 hours.

  • What’s the difference between an antigen, a PCR, or a NAA test?

    Antigen tests look for the protein covering of the COVID virus,  These tests are very good at detecting someone who may be contagious from COVID, but can miss an early infection.

    A molecular test (PCR or NAA) looks for the genetic material (RNA) inside the virus, and uses techniques to reproduce billions of copies of viral RNA from even the smallest sample. Because of this, molecular tests are more sensitive than antigen tests, and can detect an early infection sooner.  However, because they are so sensitive, PCR/NAA tests can stay positive months after someone has recovered from COVID-19.

  • How accurate are your tests?

    Our antigen tests are good, but not perfect.  They are very good (97%+) at identifying individuals who are actively contagious, but can miss an early infection.  We always recommend serial or confirmatory testing, especially for someone who is unvaccinated, has symptoms, or has had a close contact or exposure to COVID.

    Our PCR test (the Accula RT-PCR) is as good or better than other PCR tests (98% sensitive with comparison to known samples) and is in a class of tests that has the highest sensitivity and specificity available.

  • I heard antigen tests aren’t good. Can you explain this? Why not do PCR on everyone?

    So, there are advantages and disadvantages to all tests.  Antigen tests are very good at identifying someone who is sick or contagious with COVID.  If your test is positive in this scenario, you have COVID.  If your test is negative, you could still have early COVID, and we would recommend a repeat test or a confirmatory PCR/NAA test.  Antigen testing has the advantage of being fast and cost effective allowing rapid diagnosis of COVID without a multiple-day wait for results.  These tests are ideal for large scale or event testing, because they get results so quickly. We can use antigen tests, in combination with selected PCR tests, to test the most people in the most efficient manner.

  • What’s the best test for me?

    The real answer is that it depends on the circumstance.  Events or travel partners may have specific requirements, and you should check with them on what’s needed.

    If you have symptoms of an infection, you can start with an antigen test.  If it’s positive, you do not need further tests.  If it’s negative, you should continue to take precautions and either get retested in 2-3 days or have a PCR/NAA test done.

    If you are testing because of an exposure, either repeat antigen testing (2-3 days apart) or a PCR/NAA test is best.

    For more information, go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

  • I was exposed at work, school, or elsewhere. When should I get tested?

    If you have symptoms, test right away and take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    If you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you should be tested 5-7 days after your exposure.

    If you are not fully vaccinated, you should get tested immediately after learning of the exposure. If your initial test is negative, you should get tested again 5–7 days after the last exposure.  If you get sick, test immediately and take precautions.

  • Isn’t your antigen test the same one that I used at home?

    While the test itself might be similar, an observed, proctored specimen collection process ensures a high-quality sample. Also, when testing in an observed environment, we can confirm that your test was done the right way, and we can send a verified confirmation of testing.

  • Do you do travel testing?

    Yes! We meet the requirements of most destinations, and we can get same-day results for our tests. We will review all destination requirements, and we have PCR, NAA, and antigen testing available.

    Our PCR tests are covered by insurance; if you are not using U.S. health insurance, the test costs $200. Please email info@lightspeedtests.com or call 831-5-TEST-ME with your preferred date of testing and destination, and we will get you scheduled!

    ** NOTE - We are NOT a preferred testing partner for the State of Hawaii.

  • When can I get my travel results?

    Results are available on the same day. Antigen testing typically results in 30 minutes. PCR and NAA testing will result on the same day and may be available within several hours.

  • Can I get a travel certificate?

    Our standard printable result certificate has the information most people need for travel. If you need any extra information (QR Code, passport number, etc.), we can create a customized travel certificate for a $25 fee.

  • Do you give me a printed result?

    After your test, you will receive an electronic link via email/text; this link will take you to your printable test result and a printable certificate. If your travel destination requires special processing with original stamps, we can arrange this along with scheduled same day testing.

  • I heard you are testing at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – is that right?

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a host site for event and destination testing only. Priority is given to ticketed Aquarium guests, but the site is open to the public, with restrictions. Please email info@lightspeedtests.com or call 831-5-TEST-ME to arrange event or travel testing.  

    ** NOTE - no testing for COVID-19 symptoms or exposures will be done at this site. If you have symptoms or an exposure, please come to one of our other community testing sites.

  • Can you bring testing to our event?

    Yes! We can frequently schedule events, employer, or response testing.  Please call 831-5-TEST-ME or email info@lightspeedtests.com to discuss your specific needs.

  • What’s the cost of event testing?

    It It depends on your needs and testing requested. Testing may be covered by individual insurance policies, meaning that it can be done at no cost to you or your guests!

    If not using individual insurance:

    Site set up is $250/hour for the team. A team can run up to 50-100 tests per hour.  

    Antigen testing starts at $50/test. Discounts may be available depending upon volume. 

    PCR/NAA testing is $150-200 per test. Discounts may be available depending upon volume.

    Please call 831-5-TEST-ME or email info@lightspeedtests.com for more information. Set up fees may be waived depending upon volume. 

  • Can you bring testing to my workplace?

    Yes! Please call 831-5-TEST-ME or email info@lightspeedtests.com for more information.

  • Do you make house calls?

    Yes! Depending on availability, we can offer concierge testing services. There is an additional charge for this service.  Please call 831-5-TEST-ME or email info@lightspeedtests.com for more information.

  • I need to get tested immediately. What should I do?

    Please look at the upcoming events for the most up-to-date list of test sites. Our antigen testing does not require an appointment.  Please call 831-5-TEST-ME or email info@lightspeedtests.com for concierge or PCR/NAA test scheduling.