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Demand growing at Florence clinic using rapid result coronavirus test

The rapid test will cost you $125.

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 2:58 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2020 9:35 PM

Med Plus in Florence said they went from seeing 5% of coronavirus tests come back positive to 12% in the last two weeks.

The clinic located on Mall Road is not free. Within the first three hours of being open on Friday they collected more than 90 specimens from people wanting to know if they have the virus.

"Yesterday we had 90 tests in 95 minutes done so the wait is much shorter at this time," said Med Plus Nurse Practitioner Brandi Ray.

Ray said the line of people to get tested continues to grow. She said they began testing at the start of the pandemic and used local labs to actually test specimens they collected, but then those labs ran into issues.

"We got a call two Fridays ago from a lot of the local labs we were using and ultimately it wasn't a lack of supply it was a lack of reagent," said Ray.

Ray said the cassettes used to measure specimens as positive or negative were running out at the labs they use. So Med Plus shutdown testing for a week to get a game plan together, they ended up buying rapid coronavirus test machines made by Quidel.

"This one is essentially like a flu test we have you to blow your nose and we swab up to on both sides. With that being said we have a 95% accuracy or sensitivity rate with this one," said Ray.

Ray said they've tested people as far away as Chattanooga and mostly everyone wants the rapid test because results come back in one day. Ray said a lot of patients coming in tell them their employer wants them to have the test before returning to work.

"Nine and 10 to 12 day wait times and ultimately your quarantine is up before you know negative or positive. Essentially we want to get Alabamians back to the workforce and be confident that employers are safe to have them there," said Ray.

The rapid test will set you back $125. Ray said she's hopeful the rapid test will be fully covered by insurance soon so more people can get tested and know quicker if they have the virus.

Med Plus told WAAY31 they test 160 to 180 people a day and usually have to stop collecting samples around 1 p.m. or sooner so they have time to run the specimens and get people their results in 24 hours.

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