We are a month into the school year and we seem to be doing “okay.” We are seeing a rise in new cases in NY, but most are downstate. Monroe County and the surrounding areas continue to have less than a 1% incidence of positive cases. However, we are seeing a large number of children requiring COVID testing because of failed screens. To date, I have performed about 100 tests without seeing a positive test. The turn around time for these tests have unfortunately risen from 24 hours to over 48 due to the large volumes.
The Department of Health has recently released new guidelines that provide a little relief from previous mandates, but these only allow us to skip a COVID test if we can establish another diagnosis with a test such as strep, influenza or mononucleosis for example.
I am all set to start performing tests in the office. I am just waiting to receive the kits. These are PCR tests which are comparable to those run in the hospital lab and are accepted as valid tests by the health department. They take about 30 minutes to run and given the numbers of tests I have been sending off over the past 4 weeks, we should be able to handle them in the offfice. I am not sure if they will be covered by insurance and I estimate that the cost to be no more than $75 if not covered by insurance. We will still have the option of sending the tests to the hospital lab with the 48 hour wait time.
I will keep you updated.