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County receives shipment of quick-response COVID tests

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Health officials now can get nearly instantaneous results from COVID-19 tests. Clatsop County Public Health Department received 1,000 BinaxNOW test kits on Wednesday from Oregon Health Authority.

The portable test kits – approved for use in August by the federal Food and Drug Administration – require no laboratory processing and can produce results in as little as 15 minutes.

The county’s other kits had to be sent to a lab and took two to seven days or longer to process, Public Health Director Mike McNickle said.

“This time delay between the test being collected and the results received slowed our response time for providing information to patients about quarantining and other important services; the BinaxNOW provides an important advancement in our ability to conduct testing in our community.”

The tests are available through the drive-through testing program offered Mondays and Wednesdays. To arrange a test, call 503-325-8500.

While the test has a quick turn-around time, participants will be contacted about their test results later that day.

The BinaxNOW is an antigen test, versus a molecular test like the slower PCR test. This means that a positive result is highly accurate, but a negative result does not rule out an infection. A person with COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath – who receives a negative result from a BinaxNOW test should follow up with a PCR test to confirm that he or she is not infected.

In addition, tests required for medical procedures or travel typically must be of the PCR type.

The county’s drive-thru testing will offer both the BinaxNOW and PCR tests – Public Health staff can help you choose which is the most appropriate based on your reasons for getting tested.

To arrange a drive-through test, call 503-325-8500 no later than 5 p.m. the day before you wish to be tested. For more information go to Community members who are symptomatic or contacts of cases, especially those who live or work in group settings, are highly encouraged to get tested. Testing is an important tool to control the spread of COVID-19; early detection allows for isolation of the positive individual and contact tracing that can help halt the spread.

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