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Health officials say at-home COVID-19 tests not as accurate, need confirmation, as local testing sites close

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County Health Officials say at-home testing is a good way to test for COVID-19, but stress it is not as accurate as a PCR test.

Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan says if you are feeling COVID-like symptoms, or have recently been around someone who tested positive for COVID-19, it is important to get yourself tested. How that is done, however, can differ.

This week, multiple viewers reached out to KBTX with concerns over the lack of free available testing in Bryan and College Station.

Roans Prairie resident Deborah Townsend says she made a testing appointment online Monday evening for Tuesday morning. She says she drove 30 miles to The Lincoln Center in College Station, and all she saw was a sign saying testing was closed until further notice.

KBTX reached out to Curative to ask what happened. They sent the following statement:

“Curative currently offers testing to the public at St. Theresa church in College Station, TX, with several hundred available appointments for COVID-19 PCR testing today and over 800 tomorrow and can be scheduled through curative.com. Over the past 7 days, the site has collected approximately 2,000 samples. Testing is available to anyone who needs a test, with or without health insurance, and tests are collected through a simple-to-use shallow nasal sample collection method.

On August 23, due to staffing changes, Curative temporarily closed a public testing site at Central Station and re-directed patients to the St. Theresa church location. The Curative team intends to re-open the Central Station testing location to the public in mid-September.”

While some of these testing sites are closed, other options include at-home tests, urgent care clinics, or medical facilities.

With at-home tests, Dr. Sullivan says you have to be careful with how you interpret the results.

“The at-home test is an antigen test. We talk about the difference between antigen test and PCR’s, and the antigen test is pretty good if it’s positive,” said Sullivan. “If it’s positive, you should feel pretty good that that indeed is COVID-19. The test does have limitations because the sensitivity or the instability, so a negative does not give you a lot of reassurance if you have symptoms that are compatible with COVID-19 and you test but it’s negative. The recommendation is either to get a PCR test, which will be administered at an urgent care or emergency room clinic.”

To register for a test with Curative, click here.

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