FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Fresno County, so is the demand for testing.
As of now, Fresno County has three OptumServe testing sites, which use the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. From Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, the turnaround time for results at these sites was three to four days, according to the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
“The PCR test is actually testing for the virus itself and the antigen test is testing for certain elements that are present in the virus that your body is responding to and then the antibody test is looking at how has your body built up a response to the virus.” said Dr. John Zweifler, a medical consultant with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for COVID-19 antigen test to Quidel Corporation back in May.
For faster results, Premium Urgent Care clinics in Clovis and Fresno and EveryDay Healthcare turned to antigen tests, which allow residents to get their results the same day they’re tested.
“They’ll wait in their car and receptionists will go out and give them their paperwork, do the paperwork processing, then an MA will go out and swab their nose, bring in the specimen, and we’ll get the results to them in 15 minutes,” said Gilbert Bustos, the office manager for EveryDay Healthcare.
Bustos said they take most PPO insurances & Medicare. With no insurance, the test costs $165, he said.
At Premium Urgent Care, test results are given back the same day.
“I’m getting people who are construction workers, we get teachers, we get pretty much every facet of the working community,” said Dr. Erick Green, the medical director at Premium Urgent Care.
According to the FDA, with antigen tests, positive test results are “highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection.”
“The concern with some of the antigen testing is that you may miss people who actually have the disease, and this is particularly true if it’s in an asymptomatic period. So if you’re not sick and you get antigen testing, then you may test negative even though you have the disease, so it’s really not as helpful in terms of surveillance,” Zweifler said. “It is quite effective if you’re doing it with someone who’s symptomatic or they’re sick and their symptoms have occurred within the past five days.”
The three OptumServe testing sites in Fresno County use PCR tests and are located at Fresno City College, Sanger Community Center and West Fresno Regional Center. Health insurance isn’t required, and the testing is free. Appointments can be made at: https://lhi.care/covidtesting
Dr. Ignacio Guzmán with North Fresno Primary Care said he’s looking to get antigen testing for farmworker communities.
“We want to specifically target the farmworkers and those places where nobody wants to go test a lot of the times,” he said.