The struggle against the pandemic largely comes down to testing. Once officials identify positive cases, contact tracing and stringent isolation requirements prevent one case from turning into several. However, across the country, tests remain difficult to procure. Despite efforts to ramp up the number of tests, levels remain below health experts’ goals. Though, Wichita health clinics received a much needed boost to their testing capabilities with rapid result tests.
The updated tests provide results in about 10 minutes. In comparison to tests that take up to a week for lab results, the quick answer provides relief for patients. Already, 200 individuals tested and received nearly instant results from GraceMed Chief Medical Officer Dr. Julie Elder and her staff this week.
“This helps us identify the volume of COVID in the state of Kansas,” she said. By receiving rapid results, health officials gain a head start on contact tracing to determine other possible cases. From there, self-quarantine measures and monitoring prevent the outbreak from expanding.
However, the rapid testing option isn’t perfect. It serves as a preliminary check for presence of the virus.
Rapid Testing Bolsters Lab Tests
The rapid tests works by drawing a pinprick’s worth of blood from a patient’s finger. If the test returns positive, healthcare workers conduct a subsequent nasal swab test. The swab tests for viral load, providing a more detailed result.
The more robust swab test remains the standard for determining a positive case. But the rapid test helps both patients and health experts a better perspective on potential infections.
Additionally, a negative result only means a patient lacks a substantial amount of the virus to detect. If they fall within the early stages of infection, they might not show up positive on the pinprick blood test.
Still, the rapid testing prove a valuable tool by identifying more presumed cases earlier.