By Ryan Hill

LINCOLN (CBS13) — There’s a new option for COVID-19 testing at a Lincoln Urgent Care on top of the traditional nasal swab test.

“We were lucky enough to be one of the first people that has a new Sofia 2 antigen machine,” Doctor Eric Ellis at Lincoln Urgent Care said. “It’s a new technology which measures the antigen, which part of the virus itself. And it’s a 15-minute test.”

On Wednesday, the clinic identified 12 positive cases with the new nasal swab rapid testing.

CBS13 wanted to know if the rapid test results are accurate considering the speed of the testing process. It turns out rapid tests are accurate enough to call a positive result legitimate.

“It’s extremely accurate,” Ellis said. “So basically just like the regular nasal PCR that people are familiar with, you know, a positive is pretty much 100 percent it’s positive.”

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It’s the negative test results that worry UC Davis Infectious Diseases Doctor Dean Blumberg.

“The problem is that they are not sensitive enough to pick up all infection. So, they may miss some infection,” Blumberg said. “So if there’s a negative result, that’s not good enough if we really suspect somebody is infected.”

If someone does receive a negative test with a rapid test, Blumberg says the patient should be given another test.

“The next step should really be the PCR assay. It should really be a different methodology,” Blumberg said

That something that is done at Lincoln Urgent Care if someone does receive a negative test with the rapid test and there’s a certainty the patient has the virus.

“If we see someone and we’re like, alright, the history and what they look like and the physical matches with the coronavirus, then we will often times, we may recommend and say, ‘Hey look it came back negative, we recommend a second test, a PCR test,’” Ellis said.

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Blumberg told CBS13 that the Sofia 2 test that Lincoln Urgent Care is using is a good test. But, the gold standard of COVID-19 testing is still the PCR test, which Lincoln Urgent Care also offers.

Blumberg and Ellis agreed when asked if it’s also the doctor’s responsibility to interpret the test results to truly verify a patient’s condition. The head of Lincoln Urgent Care said no test is perfect for weaning out all of the false negatives. In his professional opinion, the new rapid testing they have is doing the job.

“The worst thing is to have people who are coming here and getting the wrong results. The test correlates for their sensitivity at 96.7 percent,” Ellis said. “So that means the PCR and the Sofia antigen test will be the same answer 96.7 percent of the time.”

Lincoln Urgent Care told CBS13 unfortunately insurance companies don’t have a coding system for their rapid test because it is so new. So patients will have to pay cash for the test and it will $150.

You can sign up to take a rapid test at the Lincoln Urgent Care’s website. Walk-in appointments for the PCR test at the clinic are still available.

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