The Urgent Team walk-in urgent care center in Franklin is among the company’s 25 centers that are offering two different tests to measure the impact of the coronavirus on patients.
The Nashville-based company is administering the antibody test to inform if a person has already had the coronavirus, and is also testing for anyone who has active coronavirus symptoms, according to a press release.
The Franklin center, which opened in late 2019, is located at 509 Hillsboro Road in the Independence Square shopping center.
“Urgent Team recognizes increased testing is imperative to our community members, as well as businesses,” said Tom Dent, Urgent Team’s CEO and chairman. “We are dedicated to supporting our communities through this difficult time and providing clarity as to whether a person is currently infected or has been infected by coronavirus. This will help get the economy back on track and our citizens back to work.”
Antibody – or Serology Testing
If a person does not have symptoms of the virus, but is concerned he or she has previously had COVID-19, Urgent Team can do a serology test, often called an antibody test. This test, done through a blood draw, checks for the antibodies that develop after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. It is noted by health care professionals that antibody testing should not be the sole basis to diagnose or exclude infection. Results are available within 24 hours from the date the lab picks up the specimen.
“This test will assist in identifying patients with previous exposure to COVID-19 and who may have developed an immune response,” said Chief Medical Officer William Meadows, MD. “This antibody typically shows up 7-10 days after symptoms.”
According to the test manufacturer, Diazyme, the test has a specificity rate of 98%, with a 91% sensitivity accuracy.
If a person is currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, a nasal swab can be performed to indicate whether a person is currently positive. Testing is limited to people who are actively experiencing symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath; have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting test results; or are at high risk due to underlying health issues, such as diabetes or a respiratory illness.
The PCR (polymerise chain reaction) test can detect the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. This is present if the virus is in someone who is actively infected. The PCR test detects the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, which will be in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the test can tell whether someone has the virus very early on.
“The PCR test yields a good indication of who is currently infected,” Meadows said. “If the test is positive, that person can be isolated and they should alert people they’ve been in contact with so they can be quarantined too, just in case.”
Results are available within 48 hours from the date the lab picks up the specimen.
Both tests are offered as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s notification Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pathway that was outlined for COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
Employers that want to test employees before returning to work should contact their local Urgent Team center to discuss onsite testing.
Individuals who want either type of test, should call their local Urgent Team center. The PCR test will be taken inside the center or inside the patient’s car, depending on conditions.
Those who want the antibody test should just walk in; no appointment is needed. Any patient who comes to a center for either test, must be evaluated by a provider to determine if testing is necessary. At present, most insurance plans cover the cost of these tests and treatment.
The tests are offered at all 25 Urgent Team centers in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.