Self-swabbing COVID-19 testing now being offered at the Cleveland Clinic

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — It’s the same patient drive-through for COVID-19 testing, but with a twist.

Beginning this week at the Cleveland Clinic’s Walker testing location, patients will now be able to conduct a self-collected nasal swab.

“As the pandemic has gone along, as our experience has grown, we’ve realized that a nasal swab just from the front of the nose performs very similarly as an NP swab that goes all the way to the throat, through the nose,” said section head of micro-biology Dr.. Dan Rhoads.

Doctor Rhoads says this is not a rapid test, with results still taking a few days to come back.

People will now use a nasal swab instead of the longer NP swab, which reaches the upper part of the throat that lies behind the nose.

“The caveat is that it needs to be supervised by a health care provider while it is being collected. So it either needs to be done by a healthcare provider or the healthcare provider needs to be right there watching making sure the specimen’s collected correctly,” he said.

The clinic is currently testing 2,000 patients daily for COVID-19.

The new self-swab will allow an additional 300 tests a day, while also ensuring the safety of medical staff and helping to preserve personal protective equipment.

“We’re not switching to a rapid antigen test which issued the false positive on Governor DeWine. It’s still the same testing that’s done in the laboratory; it’s just how we get the sample into the tube that’s a little bit different,” said Dr. Rhoads.

Doctors add that the swab transition will help the healthcare industry prepare for an increase in viral illnesses, like the common cold or flu, as the winter season approaches.

The clinic is hoping to expand the self-swabbing stations at more of its locations in the coming weeks.

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