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Valley Health provides quick COVID-19 testing results: the pros and cons

Many people seek quick results in order to return to work sooner.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 10:28 PM EDT
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RANDOLPH COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Getting COVID-19 testing results has been known to take no less than 24 hours and up to five or six days depending on each testing site, but a fairly new test is changing that wait time.

“The pro of this test is it only takes 15 minutes to get the result,” Dr. Mary Boyd, an MD at Valley Health Care Inc. said.

The test is known as an Antigen test, and although the wait time is a pro, there are some cons.

"There's a 10 percent false negative rate," Dr. Boyd said. She also mentioned that the positive rate has a high accuracy.

"Every test is not equally adaptable for reliable diagnosis," Dr. Mark Povroznik, the United Hospital Center's vice president of Quality said. "It doesn't mean you're negative, that should be confirmed with a molecular test like PCR," he said.

Even with this con, many still need the fast results.

"Some of the people need testing to go back to work, and maybe the school children may need it eventually, so we mainly did this as something to help the community," Dr. Boyd said. 

This however can be a risk when those coming in contact with others in the community may have a false result. For example, the Barbour County Emergency Squad that 5 news has reported on, many of them received the 15 minutes results. Meaning that the accuracy of the test results could be in question for those tested, along with anyone else in the area.

The emergency squad did released a statement in response to the incident involving the paramedic who tested positive, and they included a comment on testing. The release said that any of their employees that may have come in contact with the paramedic have followed instructions from the health department to get tested. All test have reportedly come back negative and the infected paramedic has since tested negative and remains in self quarantine.

A part from the Antigen test, all COVID-19 tests have pros and cons, but both Dr. Boyd and Dr. Povroznik said monitoring yourself for symptoms for a few days after getting tested is beneficial, but taking precautions recommended to protect yourself and those around you.

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