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‘We continue to get better’: As the pandemic changes so do the ways of testing

<i>KETV</i><br/>A six-inch swab going directly up your nose
A six-inch swab going directly up your nose

By Kalé Searcy

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — Doctors are learning more about the virus all the time and the same goes for testing.

A six-inch swab going directly up your nose, just to the base of your throat. It sounds terrible, but it was necessary.

“The nasopharyngeal, or deep swab was kind of our golden standard,” said Dr. June Steely with Nomi Health.

Steely said it was the only way to have accurate test results at the start of the pandemic. Companies have since worked to find less invasive ways to test for COVID-19.

“Saliva test or the shallow nasal tests are effective ways to test also,” Steely said.

She says there’s also a larger workforce to bring you faster results.

“That’s why instead of a week now it takes more like 24 to 48 hours,” she said.

Antigen tests are even quicker, with results in as little as 15 minutes and the convenience goes even further with at-home test kits.

“It really becomes important to make testing just as logistically easy for folks as we possibly can,” said UNMC Dr. Mark Rupp.

He says the risk of human error is greater at home and the performance of the test depends on the population it is being used in.

There’s another benefit to getting tested by a professional because those do-it-yourself tests may not get reported to public health officials.

“Does create a gap. And it does create the inability for public health to very, very quickly and accurately track patterns,” Rupp said.

One thing to note, those at-home test kits won’t tell you if you have one of the variants. If you decide to go that route, health officials urge you to call your doctor if you test positive.

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