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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Delaware's main COVID testing partner is switching to a nasal test

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s main partner for COVID tests is switching to a nasal method starting Wednesday.

Curative—a medical startup known for scaling COVID test and vaccine distribution during the pandemic—is abandoning use of self-administered saliva-based tests in favor of a self-collected shallow nasal test.

The new test involves swirling a swab about ½ to ¾ of an inch deep in the nostril for 15 to 30 seconds and repeating the process with the other nostril.       

The change is because the company is using a newly developed three-in-one test called a multiplex assay that checks for COVID, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus. But Delaware Division of Public Health Chief Physician Dr. Rick Pescatore says while the state will use the new nasal test, it is not taking advantage of the three-in-one option.

“Because the sites that we run are, generally speaking, what we refer to as screening sites throughout the community,” said Pescatore. “They’re not used for routine diagnosis within hospitals or physicians’ offices.”            

Test results for the new Curative testing method are expected to have the same 24 to 48-hour turnaround time.

The change will affect Delawareans getting tested at State Service Centers or weekly community pop-up sites run by the state. 

Pescatore notes the rate of people going to get tested has dropped drastically from the winter months. He adds the state has bolstered its at-home testing program with Vault and there are more changes to testing are in the pipeline.

“We’re going to have some announcements in the coming weeks as we really work towards making testing as easy and accessible for everyone,” said Pescatore. “And leverage new technologies—just as Curative is doing—take advantage of these new technologies to make testing even more simple and of no concern whatsoever to access.”     

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