COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Two million at home rapid antigen tests. It’s a new tool that’s coming to all Ohio health departments.
Telehealth is going to play a huge role because at the end of the day people need help doing these tests properly.
The goal is rapid and accurate antigen tests from the comfort of home.
“Just as we are talking and you’re seeing me and I’m seeing you these guides will be watching every step of the way…watch the end user insert the swab making sure they’re performing the test correctly,” explained Patrice Harris, the CEO of eMed.
The governor’s 50-million-dollar investment in the test also comes with specialized instructors.
eMed is the group that has been tapped to do virtual assistance with the test. They’ve created a special platform for the job.
“No one has to even read the instructions not that reading the instructions are not important and actually there are instructions that are visible on the screen as well as the live guide.”
The Ohio Department of Health is working on the rollout of these tests now, in which local health departments will determine the use.
OhioHealth Infectious Disease Doctor Joseph Gastaldo says this is a great tool when used properly.
“Somebody who is symptomatic it’s a very good test and performs well if the test is positive, they have COVID-19, if the test is positive their viral load is high enough that they are contagious and can spread the virus.”
He says this is a way to get quick results but did say this works best on people who have symptoms.
“So, when somebody first gets infected their viral load is so low it’s not transmissible because of the low viral load and they’re not going to be detectable on the PCR or antigen test because their viral load is so low. Eventually the viral load goes up and it goes up rather quickly and due to the fact the PCR test is more sensitive, the PCR will be a more positive first before the antigen test,” explained Gastaldo.
Gastaldo added antigen testing is great for instances when there has been an outbreak within a group of people, quicker results mean quicker contact tracing.
“We can really nip it in the bud and not allow this virus to get onto somebody who has health conditions and end up in the hospital.”
Harris says they’ll have more than one thousand proctors ready to go for initial start of the testing here in Ohio.
“We are starting with enough people to meet the demand and most importantly we have the ability to quickly scale up to meet the testing demand.”
Gastaldo did say if anyone gets a negative antigen test it’s important to do a follow-up PCR test as well.