Some clinics are offering all in one rapid COVID-19 and flu test

Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 21:57:40-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some clinics are now offering a rapid COVID-19 and flu test all in one. The news comes as Tennessee sees its largest spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.

At East Nashville Family Medicine on Woodland Street, they now have a rapid molecular test for COVID-19 and influenza. Co-owner and nurse practitioner Mimi Gerber said they're able to get results in 20 minutes.

"I’m very pleased to be able to offer this test, people are always asking ‘I’ve heard about rapid tests, can we trust this test?' And you can trust this test. It’s very sensitive, you can trust it just as much as the test we send to the commercial laboratories," said Gerber.

In some cases, she will also send the sample to a lab to confirm results since some patients worry about false positives and negatives.

"We had looked at the antigen tests initially, and we decided we would wait for the Roche test, number one we already had the device, number two the antigen tests were receiving kind of mixed reviews," Gerber said.

It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration this fall. "It allows us to differentiate between flu and COVID-19 because the two have kind of very similar symptoms," Gerber said.

So far, they haven't seen much flu yet. As COVID-19 cases soar in the mid-state, people are racing to get tested before Thanksgiving.

“For instance two weeks ago I would have told people it will take two days to get these results back, it is now 4 or 5 days or longer,” Gerber said.

That's why Gerber said rapid results are important in slowing the spread. They’re also helpful because some people have to bring their employer a negative COVID-19 test to go back to work after being exposed to someone who is sick.

"This is a test that I feel very comfortable with. If it tests positive, then I feel very comfortable in telling the patient that I believe they have COVID-19," Gerber said.

Right now they're only testing patients with symptoms, but they're handling it on a case by case basis due to demand. It's generally covered by insurance but will cost about $180 for the test and visit if you don't have it.