coronavirus

COVID-19 Testing Options Expand, So Does Confusion

More COVID-19 testing options are available in North Texas, but it's also creating more confusion

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The number of COVID-19 testing options is finally growing, and that’s a good thing.

But it can also be overwhelming, especially for people desperate for answers about their health.

The drive-thru test clinics in Dallas are where people with symptoms can get tested for COVID-19 for free.

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The current screening process requires health care workers to swab inside a patients’ noses.

The government test sites perform hundreds of tests per day, but that’s a fraction of what’s happening at private labs.

Some private labs perform that same nasal swab test, but others are drawing blood for new COVID-19 tests called "antibody tests."

Tuesday, drive-thru clinics run by a private company opened in Allen and Richardson.

Susan Hall was one of the first in line.

“You’re required to have a doctors order to be tested. [It’s] not free!” Hall said.

The concept of an antibody test is simple.

If you've had COVID-19 and recovered, it's because special antibodies in your immune system have developed to fight it off and could protect you from future infection.

Knowing that could help some people return to work, but experts caution, not every antibody test is accurate.

“It is not useful for diagnosis,” said. Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

An antibody test can cost anywhere from $20 and $200 out-of-pocket.

Hall is hoping a positive test may mean she can see her sick mother one last time.

“Maybe I will be allowed to go into the nursing home to spend the last few hours with her which is rapidly approaching,” Hall said.

This week the FDA cleared the nation's first saliva test to help diagnose COVID-19. It’s a new approach that could expand testing options even further.

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