COVID-19 tests will soon be available in the Upstate with results ready in 15 minutes or fewer.
American Family Care has just placed an order for 11 Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test machines, which are portable, rapid molecular testing machines that can test for strep throat, influenza and COVID-19.
Rapid COVID-19 tests will be available at all AFC locations in the Upstate sometime in September, according to AFC Upstate Medical Director Dr. Jeff Harris.
“We’ll have the machines here in about two weeks,” Harris said. “We’re just waiting to see exactly when the test kits will arrive, but we plan to go live in September with this testing.”
AFC Upstate has rapidly expanded its presence locally since opening five years ago, with locations now in Greenville, Easley, Powdersville, Duncan, Greenwood, Boiling Springs and Anderson, as well as a location in Clemson that opened at the end of July.
Harris said AFC Upstate also plans to open a new location in Mauldin sometime in 2021.
Why do some results take so long?
Those seeking a COVID-19 test have no doubt noticed the wide range of timetables when it comes to when test results are available.
Harris said it all boils down to what equipment is available at the testing site in question. Some facilities are able to offer rapid results thanks to equipment like the ID NOW machine, although most facilities merely collect the samples and send them to a lab for testing. In those instances, the geographic location of the lab makes all the difference when it comes to the amount of time it takes for test results to be available, he said.
For its COVID-19 testing, AFC Upstate currently partners with Premier Labs, a local company that operates on Pelham Road.
“Because we use a local lab, we can get results back quicker than most, say about 24 to 72 hours,” Harris said.
Other testing facilities, however, may have previously established contracts with major lab companies that operate outside of the state, which requires additional time to process the results.
“They sit on a UPS truck, are flown to another state, put in machines, ran, and then the info is sent back,” Harris said. “That all has an impact on turnaround time.”
Harris said the investment in ID NOW machines across all UFC Upstate locations was a decision made primarily based on expectations of the virus’ staying power into 2021.
“I think we’re a ways away from being past this,” he said. “There’s so much we just don’t know about this virus. If we knew factors regarding long-term immunity, that would be crucial, but as of yet it’s just too uncertain.”