Home tests have become popular but may not be entirely accurate; Travel and work-related needs drive test takers to get professionally administered tests
SEATTLE , June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As COVID-19 positivity rates rise again in the US and Washington state and the White House shifts in-home testing funding to support vaccines and treatments, national testing provider GS Labs continues to test hundreds of patients daily who seek professionally administered COVID-19 tests. With rapid home tests widely available on store shelves or in the mail, what is driving these patients to seek out a private lab?
Four reasons, says Dr. Darin Jackson, GS Labs Medical Director: The peace of mind of having a professional handle a medical exam; to confirm a negative COVID-19 rapid test for patients who have symptoms of COVID-19; proof of positive COVID-19 status acceptable to employers; and proof of negative COVID-19 status required to travel to certain destinations.
“There is a sense of fatigue from COVID-19 for many people – but not for everyone,” says Jackson. “People with high-risk family members or people who are at risk and have symptoms of COVID continue to come to us because they want the most accurate test results possible. compare to professionally administered tests performed and analyzed by a laboratory. Also, home test results are not being reported.”
In accordance with CDC protocols, it is standard practice for symptomatic patients who have received a rapid negative antigen test to be tested via a PCR test. This “confirmatory PCR” identifies individuals who have received a negative rapid antigen test result but are actually positive for COVID. Recent confirmatory PCR results show that 15% of symptomatic patients at GS Labs who received a negative rapid antigen test result are actually positive. Together, this highlights the public health and personal need for follow-up PCR testing when a rapid antigen is negative.
Workplace and travel needs are also driving private testing, says Jackson, who notes that in Washingtonabout 25% of the state over 5 years old is not fully vaccinated against COVID.
“In Washington, there are still about 1.9 million residents over age 5 who haven’t been fully vaccinated,” says Jackson, noting that the net number will increase due to the recent FDA approval for vaccines for 6 months or more. “We are giving tests to people whose employers require a positive job test for PTO purposes or to reimburse employees for various items. In addition, it is important to note that many countries – including Canada – still require proof of full vaccination or a professionally administered negative COVID test from travelers wishing to enter the country.”
The US Department of State website maintains a worldwide list of entry requirements for travel: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html
Inside Washington, GS Labs’ weekly patient positivity rate began to climb in mid-April, from just over 2% to a sustained rate of over 18% over the previous five weeks. This reflects results from GS Labs’ national laboratory network, where the most recent seven-day continuous positivity rate is 20% – approaching its highest positivity rate of 23% recorded during Omicron’s peak.
“Fortunately, we continue to have extensive screenings and consultations for patients who need them,” says Dr. Jackson. “Our commitment to convenient and affordable testing remains unchanged, as does our top priority: providing critical health information to individuals around the world. Washington state and beyond.”
Lab testing capability and availability remains strong at GS Labs, which operates five Washington state test locations: Bellevue, Federal Highway, Lynnwood, Seattle and Vancouver. GS Labs’ state-of-the-art custom technology platform is designed to serve up to 1,000 patients per day at each location. GS Labs’ digital platform allows patients to book within 15 minutes of the proposed appointment and receive fast, accurate results in less than 20 minutes after completing a rapid antigen test. Appointments for all tests must be made online prior to arrival at the https://gslabtesting.com/.
Two tests are fully covered by insurance if the patient has symptoms or has had a recent exposure: a rapid antigen test for $179 – which typically returns results within 20 minutes – and a PCR test for $229 which returns results in 2 to 5 days. Both tests have no direct cost with accepted insurance.
In addition, GS Labs offers PCR-NAAT and PCR-LAMP rapid tests for $299 each, with results typically returned in about two hours. These tests, ideal for travel or screening tests, are available with cash payment only. Travel destinations may have different and specific testing requirements, so customers should research which test is required before booking a time. A combination of rapid COVID antigen and influenza test is available for $199also with payment only in cash.
Since starting to offer testing, GS Labs has tested more than 1.3 million patients nationwide. To date, GS Labs has identified over 230,000 COVID-19 positive patients. based in omahaGS Labs entered the COVID-19 testing space when the pandemic initially spread nebraska and Midwest. At the time, loved ones and friends of the company’s partners couldn’t find COVID-19 tests anywhere after being exposed to the coronavirus. From that initial location, the company expanded across the US; its current presence includes more than a dozen locations in eight states.
SOURCE GS Labs