Screening Strategies

Self swab coronavirus testing leaves room for error

Allie Tribe, Staff Writer

COVID Testing
Jada Boner

As coronavirus takes over 2020, testing procedures and outcome timelines evolve. In the beginning, results took between eight to ten days to report. Then, rapid testing lowered wait times down between thirty minutes to an hour. The NFL, MLB and PGA even started to try out saliva tests rather than the traditional nasal swab. While each test remains potentially flawed, the self swab nasal tests seem to leave the most room for error. 

Self swab nasal tests are available in countless places across the country, but the CVS location in Decatur is one of the closest testing centers in Wise Country to offer them. 

In order to obtain a test, the patient needs to schedule an appointment beforehand through the CVS website. The test takes place in the drive through prescription line where an employee walks the patient through the test. While the worker and directions make it clear how far up the nostril the swab needs to go, the likelihood of error remains possible when completed by a person who’s never undergone a COVID-19 test before. A patient risks removing the swab too quickly, mishandling it altogether or even not sticking it up far enough in their nose. Luckily, the CVS employee helps guide patients through the test and makes sure they go through all the steps correctly and efficiently- hopefully.

Supervised self swab tests may hold some credibility, but self swab tests taken at home could cause more problems than it solves. Just like a supervised self swab test, the possibility remains of not obtaining a valid sample by messing up the swab. Unlike with the supervised test, there’s no one to tell the patient to wait a few more seconds or redo the swab. A bad sample often leads to inconclusive or false results. A false result either allows an infected person to spread the sickness or traps a perfectly healthy one in quarantine. 

COVID’s a tricky subject with many opinions circling about it, but one thing most people agree on is that it’s not getting much easier. New information about the disease constantly pours in, as new research over testing methods and possibility of a vaccine hopefully grows closer. For the sake of safety and continuity, the best bet is to get any COVID testing done by a trained health professional, or at least supervised by one.