A new rapid testing site opened in San Diego County on Monday to determine if residents have the novel coronavirus or are possibly immune to the virus.
The COVID Clinic, which was started by Orange County doctor Matthew Abinante and is not affiliated with the County Public Health Department, will order thousands of COVID-19 tests to San Diegans right from the safety of their car. It’s seen success at its Westminster location in Orange County and is delivering the same service locally.
Health professionals will screen individuals and offer consultation according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control. Doctors at this one-stop shop will offer two types of tests to individuals – one that determines if someone has contracted the virus, a PCR test, and another that will see if a person is possibly immune to it.
The coronavirus test involves a nose swab and results will be made available in a matter of a couple of days. It costs $125 per person. The second screening, which is an antibody test, will tell individuals if they’re possibly immune to the virus. It costs $75 per person and results are available within just minutes.
County Public Health Dr. Eric McDonald warns that, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidance on how to use antibody testing, it has not yet been approved by the FDA, and there is still much to learn about what the results actually mean.
The County Public Health Department is working with the FDA to develop antibody testing and to determine how the results can be used but "it's not well settled yet," McDonald said.
The County Public Health Department can ask for documentation for any tests being conducted in the county and said the antibody test documentation had print that said, "The test has not been reviewed from the FDA and results from the antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-COV2-2019 or to inform infection status."
He said the validity of the test needs to be looked at with a cautious eye.
No appointments or referrals are necessary for either test, but doctors highly recommend submitting a pre-test enrollment to make the process go by faster. That can be done here.
Currently, the COVID Clinic's site has an online payment process during its pre-test enrollment to speed up the process once people arrive at the site. A spokesperson said organizers are working on correcting its language online that asks for a "monthly" bill -- the site is meant to ask for a one-time payment for whichever test an individual chooses.
The COVID Clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily at MiraCosta College’s San Elijo campus in Cardiff. Doctors are hoping to expand their hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.