CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A new diagnostic test has made its way to Roper St. Francis Healthcare that details whether a patient has COVID-19 or the flu. The test is ultimately the difference between business as usual or a 14-day quarantine.
These rapid turnaround tests come in two models, one is a three-in-one test found at Express Cares which tests for COVID-19, Influenza A, and Influenza B. The other is a four-in-one test administered in the Roper St. Francis Hospital’s Emergency Department and tests for COVID-19, Influenza A, Influenza B, and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection. Each form of the diagnostic test only take a total of 20 minutes to complete.
Dr. Gary Cianci with Roper Express Care described the test as a Q-tip that is inserted deep, but not as deep as the ‘brain-ticklers’ or nasopharyngeal swabs. He also said that these tests so far have been better tolerated by a lot of people, especially their pediatric population.
While their test may not be as invasive, it is still just as sensitive and is a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.
Though COVID-19 and the Flu are very similar, Dr. Cianci says the main difference is the onset of symptoms, as the flu is more immediate.
While not always, but fairly constant with flu, Dr. Cianci said the flu comes with pretty significant symptoms. He added, ‘you’re going to usually feel like the quote on quote I got hit by a truck.’
COVID can take quite a while before you start to see symptoms. The average being about 5 ½ to 6 days from times of exposure to having the virus enter your system until you start to develop symptoms.Dr. Gary Cianci, Roper Express Care
Dr. Cianci said not everyone will be given the three-in-one or four-in-one test if requested. Rather, it will be given to those that are symptomatic and are more likely to be actively shedding the virus. Therefore, at a higher risk of transmitting the virus to those around them.
Previously, Roper St. Francis Express Cares would only see their respiratory patients inside their vehicles but are now allowing patients to come inside for their appointments.