FDA-Approved Rapid COVID Testing Available Any Day Now at G-Health Enterprises!
Call Urban Family Practice at 716-882-0366 to inquire!
by Annette Pinder
Everywhere people continue to talk about access to rapid COVID-19 testing. Rapid tests available for a short time in August revealed a greater prevalence of the virus in our region than we anticipated and higher than anywhere else in New York state. Fortunately, we are doing better now, but Governor Cuomo and local leaders continue to emphasize the importance of doing all we can to prevent another widespread lockdown.
Knowing the value of rapid testing in helping to curb COVID-19, Dr. Raul Vazquez, founder and Medical Director of G-Health Enterprises, purchased 13 rapid-testing machines and thousands of test kits. Now available to anyone, patients who come to G-Health for a rapid COVID swab test can receive their results within 5 to 10 minutes.
Only two FDA-authorized point-of-service machines can carry out the rapid test, the Abbott ID Now and the Quidel Sofia 2. The Abbott ID Now test detects the viral genetic material while the Quidel Sofia detects the viral antigen (toxin). Dr. Vazquez uses the Abbott ID Now machines since they are the only ones that come close to replicating the accuracy of tests currently being carried out in a laboratory setting. At this point, very few clinics have either of these machines.
Not only can the machines run tests to confirm the presence of the COVID-19 virus, but they can also be used to test whether a patient has flu or strep. “Once we confirm a positive test, we can activate contact tracing immediately,” explains Dr. Vazquez. Quick test results also mean that a patient can get proper care and treatment. “For example, if we confirm that an individual has the flu, we can treat it with Tamiflu. If we determine that a patient has strep, we can prescribe antibiotics,” explains Dr. Vazquez. Although the tests are available to anyone who wants one, they come with an out-of-pocket cost of $41. However, Dr. Vazquez hopes this will change.
Since rapid tests do not meet current state travel requirements, if you are traveling, you should plan ahead and get a swab test that is sent to a local lab for which processing times vary between 3 and 10 days. PCR-lab testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers when ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065. You can also call your local health department by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y5e5bgto.
Believing that health care is a right for all, Dr. Vazquez is working hard to provide services in new ways that bring care directly to where people live — through telehealth, in-person visits, remote-monitoring, rapid COVID testing and contact-tracing, and through the creation of a mobile laboratory unit he calls “Urgent Care on Wheels.” Right now he worries about people getting flu vaccines, Black and Brown people who are often overlooked, and the digital divide he sees in educating young people who lack consistent online access.
Learn more about Dr. Vazquez and the many initiatives being undertaken by G-Health Enterprises by visiting https://www.gbuaco.org or call 716-247-5282.