Drive-thru COVID testing arrives at Central District Health Department | Grand Island Local News

Rapid COVID-19 tests have arrived at the Central District Health Department, made exponentially fast in its drive-thru format.

The format is an effort to give residents of the Tri-Cities greater accessibility to testing.

Drive-through antigen (1 hour results) and PCR tests (23-36 hour results) are housed in a pod structure in the parking lot of CDHD, thanks in large part to Nomi, a healthcare company direct associated with coronavirus testing try Test Nebraska.

“We were able to get a pod structure that will help accommodate drive-through testing,” said Teresa Anderson, director of CDHD Health.

There will also be heating and lights available in used DHHS/NEMA structures obtained by CDHD.

“They needed to get rid of it, so it didn’t cost us anything,” Anderson said. “It can be either tests or vaccinations. We try to determine what we have the most demand for.

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On Monday and Tuesday alone, 300 to 400 people went to the Central District Health Department for COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccinations, according to Anderson.

Anderson said she was optimistic.

“As more people become aware of this, we will have increased numbers,” she said.

The two COVID tests available through Nomi have relatively quick results, but the accuracy between the two varies, Anderson said.

“PCR tests are much more accurate,” she said. “The antigen is most accurate in people with symptoms.”

With variants emerging, knowing the strain can help determine where the virus has been and where it might go. Delta still appears to be the dominant strain at this point, Anderson said.

“We know that at least in Nebraska, 98% to 99% of COVID tests are positive for Delta (variant),” she said.

Samples are processed in a CLIA-certified laboratory using FDA-cleared kits. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulate and certify human laboratory testing with the goal of maintaining a level playing field for results. Accuracy is key in tracking the spread.

Coronavirus testing is always a high priority, Anderson said.

“We know it’s very important for people to be tested to know the spread in our community,” she said.

In addition to tracking the spread of the coronavirus, it also adds to preventative measures, Anderson explained.

“It’s a multi-tiered toolkit. If you only take one (prevention step) without the others, it won’t be as effective. People need to remember these tools in their toolkit.

Over the past seven days, the number of CDHD cases is 193, with 246.1 cases per 100,000. The positivity rate is 35%, and the risk dial for the neighborhood is high in the red ( high transmittance). The majority of cases this week are in the 30-39 age group with 36 cases. Over the past week, no coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the district.

Testing is available Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The vaccination service will be available on Mondays and Tuesdays, but COVID-19 tests will not be available on these days. People wishing to take a test are asked to bring a health insurance card if they have one. If they don’t have insurance, they won’t be turned away.

CDHD offers COVID-19 vaccines and third doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as flu vaccines.

People with questions about the immunization service should call 308-385-5175 or visit cdhd.ne.gov.

Jessica Votipka is an education reporter at the Grand Island Independent. She can be reached at 308-381-5420.

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