Painless testing: Health officials now using new method for COVID-19 tests

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A new way to get tested for COVID-19 is now available for those in the Kanawha Valley that’s a painless alternative to the nasal swab.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has performed roughly 30,000 COVID-19 nasal swab tests and has held 89 drive-thru testing events over the last several months.

While effective, the swab can be uncomfortable, irritating and even painful. Now, health officials are using your saliva to test for the virus.

KCHD Executive Director, Dr. Sherri Young said, “this offers an alternative for either children, those who have had nasal surgery or just absolutely can’t bring themselves to do the nasal swab.”

The saliva COVID-19 test has more limitations and is more time-consuming. You can’t eat, drink or have anything in your mouth 30 minutes prior to taking the test.

The best thing to do if you’re going to do one of the saliva base tests is get a full glass of water, maybe 30 minutes before you go to take your test,” said Young.

Failure to follow these instructions can result in a false test result.

Two milliliters of saliva is collected and it has to be pure saliva, not foamy spit. That is why hydrating 30 minutes before is important.

“It takes anywhere from three to sometimes ten minutes to get that much saliva into a tube, we would have people backed up for awhile, so it’s not something we’re going to add to the drive-thrus quite yet until we get a little better at collecting those specimens,” said Young.

A solution then preserves the viral agents in your sample and your results are ready within 24-48 hours, the same as the nasal swab test.

You must make an appointment for the saliva COVID-19 test by calling 304-348-8080 and pre-register. During registration, stop and logout when you reach the scan code portion.

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