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COVID-19 Testing 101


FILE – In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF)— With the numbers of coronavirus cases increasing locally, there’s still some confusion surrounding testing methods.

According to the FDA, there are two tests available for covid-19. There’s a diagnostic test.

Jessica Liberty, Infection Prevention Manager, Freeman Health System, said, “To determine if you are shedding the active virus, so to diagnose you with COVID.”

And antibody testing.

Karen Watts, Director of Administrative Labatory Services, Freeman Health System, said, “A blood test that looks for the bodies immune response to having the infection.”

Currently there are two diagnostic tests–molecular, to detect the virus’ genetic material and antigen that detects specific proteins.

“If you have an initial onset of symptoms and suspect COVID.”

You’ll need the diagnostic test, which is done by swabbing an individual, it’s done two ways–nasopharyngeal.

“In through each nostril and it goes back to the very back of the palette and it feels like you’re swabbing your brain,” said Liberty.

And oropharyngeal.

“Goes back to the back of the throat which is really similar to like a rapid strep test.”

Antibody testing determines whether you had covid-19 in the past and now have antibodies against the virus.

“We’re lucky to have a good turnaround time for our antigen tests, the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab and we’re getting those results back in about 24 hours. The antibody test, even faster than that we do it here in house and the results are ready within just a matter of a few hours,” said Watts.

Locally, diagnostic tests are available at the 7th Street Walmart and Freemans covid-call center and drive thru and Mercy offers drive-thru testing in Carthage.

“If somebody wanted to be tested for an antibody test for COVID, they can either go to their provider and get an order and go to any draw station and have it drawn or they can go to Freeman Health Sysytem’s Occumed where they can pay cash and have the test run.”

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