5 COVID-19 pop-up testing sites you need to know about

covid19 testing

With the number of years you have spent on earth, it’s likely that you have gotten sick a few times already. We used to ignore a cough or cold like it was a common occurrence, but when a strain of Coronavirus made itself known to the world, a simple sniffle is enough to scare everyone.

Covid-19 has caused a global pandemic. Those in the public health field needed a way to find out who has it or not. Covid tests are done to check if a person is infected.

What is a pop-up testing site?

You may be already familiar with pop-up stores in malls and events. Those are temporary boutiques that only operate for a day or so. The concept is the same with pop-up Covid-19 testing sites. Medical professionals from private or community health centers set up a tent-like clinic with its own mini-lab for testing people.

Why are pop-up testing sites near me needed?

Pop-up testing sites that use rapid tests help provide a community-based overview of the status of the people under their wing. When the risks are understood, it would be easier to plan for the community’s safety or to roll out essential health protocols. Pop-up clinics may be needed in:

Events

When the pandemic struck, people had to make do with online or virtual events. The restrictions are not as intense today as it was when the Coronavirus outbreak was announced. People are more informed and aware of what they can and cannot do, like social distancing, avoiding huge crowds, wearing face masks, and disinfecting frequently.

Because of the slightly more lenient setting, people are now allowed to hold events, like weddings or business conferences, but only if protocols, such as on-site testing, are followed.

Borders and Airlines

Rapid testing is preferred by locals and travelers alike because it is quick, less inconvenient, and it won’t cause traffic jams at entry points.

Even airlines are adding pop-up testing pods for both airline staff and passengers. These may turn into permanent kiosks in major airports in the United States.

If you are the one traveling to another city, make sure that you know and understand the travel advisory in the place you are visiting. Make sure to bring with you your health insurance information and some form of identification.

Businesses

It is the responsibility of business owners to provide proper health care for their staff before reopening. Rapid tests can help make sure that each one of their employees is healthy enough to be around customers.

Schools

It is important for teachers and school employees to be cleared of any infection before being allowed to show up for work. This also goes for schools that are reopening with various learning models like hybrid in-classroom classes, distance learning, and homeschooling.

Sports teams

Athletes are very finicky when it comes to their health. The condition of their bodies will greatly affect their performance and victories. Rapid tests can be done on teams to track the status of their health.

For sports events, pop-up testing sites can be set up to test spectators who display certain flu-like symptoms. This is to determine if they can be allowed to enter the stadium and watch the game.

PCR tests and rapid tests

The PCR or Polymerase Chain Reaction test is the most common method for people who might have the virus. It detects the smallest traces of the virus RNA. It is often conducted on those who are not showing signs but were exposed to someone who tested positive.

PCR tests are more sensitive and more accurate. But they are also more costly and test results are only available a few days or weeks after a swab.

A rapid test, on the other hand, detects proteins or antigens, which are only present in people who are already infected or those who are at greater risk of developing the virus. Although not as accurate as PCR, it can help test more people in a shorter period of time.

Rapid tests, which give same-day positive or negative results, are the most preferred method of testing for pop-up clinics.

How are rapid tests done?

In pop-up testing sites, antigen tests that produce results in just 15 to 30 minutes are used. One of the most popular is the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA. Here’s a short glimpse of how the test goes:

  1. It still starts out as a nasal swab, just like the more common PCR test.
  2. The sample swab is then dipped into a Reagent solution, which helps create a chemical reaction.
  3. After about a minute of dipping and swirling, the solution is then added to a test cassette. This resembles a pregnancy test with a drip well.
  4. The lab specialist leaves it to soak for about 15 minutes before inserting it into the Sofia Quidel device.
  5. After just a minute, the toaster oven-sized device displays a positive or negative result on its screen.

The BD Veritor is another quick testing device used in pop-up testing sites. The process is practically the same as Sofia. One obvious difference, however, is the size of the testing device. But even if BD is smaller, they are both still portable enough for pop-up testing clinics. Both BD Veritor and Sofia Quidel have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA.

When to get tested for Covid-19

Many patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 reported symptoms that appeared between 2 to 15 days from exposure. The most common signs are:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches, body pain, or headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

There could be other symptoms that could indicate the presence of the virus. You can check the CDC website for more symptoms to watch out for.

It is important to know that not everyone needs to be sent to testing locations for a swab. If you have some of these Covid-19 symptoms, call a health provider near you first to check if you should schedule an appointment.

If your symptoms are mild, you may just be told to stay at home and medicate. If you are advised to get tested, a rapid test would be the quickest way to know if you are infected or not.

The Nao Medical mobile testing team is open to conduct on-site (bulk) testing for events or anywhere the Covid-19 three C’s are present: Confined spaces with poor ventilation; crowded places with no physical distancing; and close-contact settings with face to face interaction. If the rapid test is negative, your guest can proceed to enter your venue. If not, samples are sent for PCR testing and the individual will be isolated or quarantined.

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