Avera Medical Minute: New COVID-19 test less invasive, with faster results

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 4:49 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - If you’re already not feeling well, getting in a car to wait in line for a COVID-19 test can require an extra level of patience. Mike Black and the team at the Avera laboratory are doing all they can to process COVID tests as quickly as possible.

“The capacities that we’ve been seeing, it’s really been difficult on all labs across the nation,” said Black.

A new way to test for COVID-19 is bringing hope for returning test results sooner: an antigen test.

“A very good antigen test, tests the proteins of the virus particle whereas PCR tests the genetic actual genetic material on or in the virus,” said Black.

To qualify, for the COVID antigen test, there are some pre-requisites, starting with age.

“Those five years of age or older. It’s for symptomatic patients only,” said Black.

Symptoms can be present anywhere from part of a day to 12 days.

If you do get the covid antigen test, Eric Felderman at the Avera collection site says there’s no need to be apprehensive about a deep-penetrating swab.

“So it does go into the nose, it does not go all the way to the back like the NP swab. So it is a lot more comfortable for patients, from that perspective,” said Felderman.

While other COVID tests are sent to the lab, the antigen tests are run at the collection site on Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls.

“Less of the transport time so to speak. This is really going to help us turn around these results a little bit quicker and try to get those results out faster so patients can start their quarantine, get back to work, send kids back to daycare, to kind of get back to their routines and their lives,” said Felderman.

Before you get in line for any type of COVID test, you need a referral.

“You know, speak with your provider, they’re going to determine if testing is appropriate for you. From there if it is, certainly you can come see us here at the site and you know we’d be happy to get those collections done and try to get to your results,” said Felderman.

The time from inserting the specimen to a result: only 15 minutes.

“If we’re able to get those results back to you sooner, with a quality result, then that’s gonna hopefully decrease your anxiety,” said Black.

The goal is to have covid antigen test results back to you the same day.

“Meeting people where they are and that’s always been, you know, our mission and our belief, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” said Felderman.

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