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Starr County to soon use rapid tests at drive-thru facility

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 April 06, 2020 7:38 PM April 06, 2020 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

RIO GRANDE CITY – On Monday, Starr County agreed to start using rapid tests at its drive-thru facility.

Dr. Jose Vasquez, the county’s health authority, said the private lab providing tests made the move to help speed the process along.

“So, this is a procedure where we are going to be using a drop of blood. And in a cassette similar to the ones that are being used for glucose monitoring, we are going to be able to determine if the person has antibodies against COVID-19,” said Dr. Vasquez.

The test will return a result in 15 minutes. Negative results should be accurate, positive results will need to be tested again through the current process, polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR), meaning rapid tests can be faulty.

The city of Laredo recently agreed to purchase thousands, but when it ran a test on a small batch, officials decided to cancel the order.

Dr. Vasquez said these tests are coming from companies approved by the private lab the county is working with at South Texas College.

“So, they have reviewed many multiple testing kits from different companies all throughout the world, and they have concluded that the test kits coming from these two different companies – Centron and BioMedonics – are the ones that are more reliable,” said Dr. Vasquez.

Starr County expects the tests to be en route and will be available as early as Wednesday. Before officials start using them, they’re going to run a control test.

“What we are going to be doing once we have this available, we are going to be running the first five positives and five negatives here that we have in our community and to validate our tests by ourselves,” Dr. Vasquez said.

Rapid tests are meant to weed out the negative results. Positive results are getting addressed first.

Starr County hopes the new tests will help decrease the waiting time for those who are not sick.

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