At this date, there have been 58 reported positive COVID-19 tests in Eastland County. There are still 9 individuals in quarantine. Quarantine is determined from the first sign of symptoms. Ten days from the first symptoms and at least 72 hours without any symptoms, then quarantine is complete. Testing is taking up to 12 days for the PCR. Generally, most are over the illness by the time they have the results.
There have been many questions about testing. There are basically two types of testing: diagnostic and antibody (serological).
- There are two types of diagnostic testing, molecular and antigen. The PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for the presence of the nuclear material (RNA). This is taken from a nasal swab. It is the most accurate test. This type of test is the most common, but it has been taking up to 12 days to receive the results. A newer rapid PCR will soon be more readily available. The second type of diagnostic testing is the antigen. It is checking for the presence of the spike proteins that are on the surface of the virus. This test is also a nasal swab and is resulted in 15 minutes. If positive, it is 100% that the individual has the virus. If negative, there is a 20% chance that the individual could still be infected. It is specific but not as sensitive as the PCR.
- Antibody: This test checks for the presence of antibodies in the blood. This test is not used to determine if an individual has an infection.
The PCR is still the best test but takes time to result. Hopefully, the rapid PCR will become more available. The antigen test can be done at the point of care and can be used to diagnose a symptomatic individual. It should not be used to screen asymptomatic individuals. If the antigen test is negative, but a person has COVID symptom they can have the PCR test done. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in self-quarantine. This will help to curb the spread of this virus.
Dr. Robert DeLuca
Texas Health and Human Service website: