CareWell Preparing to Offer Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Tests

SOUTH DENNIS – CareWell Urgent Care has announced that they will be getting the first rapid antigen point of care test for COVID-19 that has received full emergency use authorization approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The nasal swab tests read if a person with COVID-19 symptoms has the antigen (active disease) within 10 to 15 minutes, according to Senior Market Leader for CareWell Sarah McLain.

She said the quick turnaround time could provide much needed relief for residents who are nervous that they might have contracted the novel coronavirus.

“We’re able to send the patient home with a much better care plan; if they are positive, being able to identify those in the community that actually have the active disease, rather than waiting 48 to 72 hours, sometimes longer, for those results,” McLain said.

Tests will be conducted in-house, and prior authorization from a primary care physician is not required to receive it. Tests will be billed to insurance, McLain explained, so those who receive tests will not have to pay for it out of pocket.

McLain said that data from these tests will be beneficial to understand where outbreaks are occurring, and that the information will be able to aid all levels of government in their responses.

Since all of the testing data is still not completely in, McLain said that the EUA approval is the next logical step in getting full approval from the FDA.

“The EUA approval is, really, just the FDA saying, ‘This test has substance. We believe that it is going to be beneficial, and it is accurate, and all of those things,'” McLain continued.

The test is especially important for healthcare workers and first responders, McLain explained, along with others who have potentially been exposed to the virus consistently.

McLain said that those who test negative can then be tested for antibodies in the same visit, while those who test positive would likely be recommended to take an antibody test after some time has passed and antibodies have built up.

While the tests are not currently available, McLain said that CareWell is awaiting their shipment and the tests should be ready to be used in the “next couple of days.”

CareWell’s Cape Cod location is in South Dennis.

For more information, visit CareWell Urgent Care’s website by clicking here.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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