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OGH Offers Clarification on Locally Available COVID-19 Testing

October 9, 2020 – Due to concerns voiced in our community about the accuracy of COVID-19 testing, Ochiltree General Hospital would like to offer some insight into the confusing world of COVID-19 testing terms. Below are short explanations of rapid, antibody and polymerase chain reaction testing:


Rapid Testing: Rapid testing has been a hot topic in the media since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States. Rapid testing can return results showing whether the patient is infected with acute COVID-19 the same day, as opposed to the 3 to 5 day estimated wait for most nasal swab tests. However, the problem with rapid tests – as widely reported in the media – is the lack of consistency in results. For that reason, Ochiltree General made the decision to not offer rapid COVID-19 testing via cassette rapid tests.


COVID-19 Antibody Testing: COVID-19 antibody testing, also known as serology testing, is a blood test that's done to find out if you've had a past infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). An antibody test can't determine whether you're currently infected with the COVID-19 virus, however, Laboratory staff at Ochiltree General found when running the Beckman Coulter SARA-CoV-2 assay on our confirmed in-house COVID-19 patient samples, a test sensitivity of more than 99 percent at 14 days post testing.


Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Testing: The method of testing used at Ochiltree General currently is PCR testing. Using throat and nasal swabs, visually read test results are available in 30 minutes to your primary care provider. This system provides actionable, laboratory-quality results at the point of care. The system allows for decentralized care for immediately actionable results. PCR testing is not a form of rapid response testing.


Your local hospital wants to point out that many surrounding communities are experiencing increases in positive results while all using different methods of testing. That is the very definition of a pandemic. We encourage all of our friends and neighbors to practice COVID-19 precautions.


The full-service onsite Laboratory Department at Ochiltree General is proud to offer COVID-19 PCR testing as well as antibody testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a physician’s order. For a list of local primary care physicians, please visit www.ochiltreehospital.com/physicians.


Ochiltree General Hospital, your hometown critical access hospital, offers an expansive collection of programs and services designed with you in mind. From our Obstetrics and Women’s Health services to the programs at The Seasons Assisted Living, our aim is to provide for you and your loved ones no matter the stage of life or need.


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