Saliva testing for COVID-19 begins at drive-thru testing sites

Coronavirus

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta University is now offering a new test for COVID-19. The hospital will start using a saliva test on Monday through its drive-thru testing sites.

The drive-thru functions the same way it always has, but the default test will now be the saliva test. Instead of the nasal test, you spit into a test tube up to a marked line.

The test has even less contact between nurses and patients which is safer.

AU doctors have been researching to put this test since May. This say they’ve refined the procedure enough to where it detection sensitivity is equally as accurate as the nasal test.

AU’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Phillip Coule, says, “this runs on the same equipment that we’re running our other tests on. It is a Preliminary Chain Reaction or PCR test, and that process after that will remain the same, including delivering the results to the individual via the patient portal.”

AU will be billing insurance or asking for federal compensation for those who need it.

As far as COVID-19 trends in the CSRA, the percent of positive tests last week have dropped in the single digits to 9%.

“We became a bit of a hot spot and I am pleased that we are less than half of the kind of volumes that we were seeing at that time. Our in-patient census is down. We have less people in the hospital. We have less people in the ICU,” says Dr. Coule.

That’s definitely good news, but we are not out of the woods yet. Dr. Phillip Coule says we need to continue safety practices for those numbers to continue to decrease.

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