New rapid COVID-19 testing is a game changer in Pulaski

Local News

PULASKI, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As the fight against COVID-19 continues, rapid testing for the virus has become a hot topic, especially lately. An urgent care in Pulaski is one of the few places where rapid testing is offered in Central New York.

COVID-19 testing at the Pulaski Urgent Care is convenient, as they are one of only a handful of facilities in Central New York that can deliver COVID-19 test results within minutes. 

Rodney Richmond, a physician assistant with Pulaski Urgent Care, said, “Our volume dropped during the pandemic, as people were staying home, avoiding crowded places including medical clinics, but now, we’re at 180% of our usual average.”

People are calling to book a COVID test from as far away as Long Island. Testing slots are usually booked up within 45 minutes of opening. 

Richmond said, “We were fairly fortunate, we had a Sofia 2 Lab Analyzer manufactured by Quidel that we were using for flu, strep, RSV, and Lyme. A few months ago, they received emergency use authorization to test for SARS-CoV-2.”

Now the Pulaski Urgent Care has two testing platforms, one is the Sofia, which they had before the pandemic. Now, they also have the Abbott which is newer and faster at giving results.

These machines both got emergency approval by the FDA, but Rodney Richmond warns they’re not 100% accurate.

The Sofia gives results that are about 80% accurate, but any that come back negative are sent to a lab to double check.

The Abbott, however, is 95-97% accurate and doesn’t require a send-off to the lab, according to Richmond.

“From a public health standpoint, it’ll be very opportune when other facilities like ours (regular doctors offices, schools & school-based clinics) have access to rapid onsite testing,” Richmond said.

Richmond says of about 2,000 COVID tests that went through the Sofia machine and then were sent out to a lab, only about nine ended up being false negatives. The abbott machines, Richmond says, are much harder to come by. They’re hoping to purchase more soon. 

There is another rapid COVID-19 testing site at the Primary Urgent Care located on Genesee Street in Utica.

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