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COVID-19 testing in demand across the Valley

11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, August 11 2021 Aug 11, 2021 August 11, 2021 12:39 AM August 11, 2021 in News - Local

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the Rio Grande Valley, more people are getting tested, and testing site officials say they're feeling the increase in demand.

David Estrada is in charge of EZ COVID Testing, a pop-up COVID-19 testing location that checks for seven different variants. Though results aren't instant, Estrada says they offer the polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests instead of rapid tests.

"[The] rapid test could be inconclusive, but by doing the PCR, that's what is going to guarantee you for sure whether you have COVID or any of the variants," Estrada said. "It's 99.9 percent accurate."

Laboratory Director at the UT Health RGV Clinical Laboratory, Dr. John Thomas, echos Estrada's statement; he says anyone testing for COVID-19 should take a PCR test for the most accurate results.

"The rapid test can only tell you if you have viral proteins inside of you that specific moment," Thomas said. "Sometimes, you can get the infection. You can clear the infection, but you can still have pieces of the virus in your body that are hanging around for a couple of days. And that can be detected by a rapid test, but that doesn't mean that you're infected and that you can infect other people."

Thomas recommends taking a rapid test if you are symptomatic and encourages everyone to follow it up with a PCR test because it will detect if the virus is replicating inside your body.

UT HEALTH RGV officials say COVID-19 samples doubled from June to July, and while Thomas expects the number of people testing for the virus to rise, he says they've kept up with the increasing demand.

"We've had a very, very strong, robust supply," Thomas said. "We have no disruptions."

Walgreen officials say the demand for COVID-19 testing has double across their stores from June to July, adding that they've met the increasing demand nationwide.

CVS officials say testing numbers are up; COVID-19 home test kits are their top-selling item. 

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