The new non-invasive COVID-19 PCR test is nixing the nasal swab and making testing more comfortable for patients in the Richmond region.
CrossOver Healthcare Ministry recently began offering a saliva-based COVID-19 test at its Richmond and Henrico locations to clients who are low-income, uninsured and medically underserved. The nonprofit charitable healthcare clinic is the first organization to offer the test in Virginia.
CrossOver staff collect a small amount of saliva which is briefly mixed in a solution and inserted into a testing machine. The lab-quality test provides results within 28 minutes.
PCR testing for COVID-19 is considered the gold standard in the field of virology.
“The advantage to using this method is that we don’t have to store a specimen or send it to an outside lab that would take three to five days to process the sample,” said Kaitlyn Patterson, CrossOver’s nurse manager. “Patients don’t have to wait for results that may no longer be useful by the time they are received. We’re thrilled to have this as an option because it’s less invasive for patients, and we can get reliable PCR results that are more accurate than rapid test results in less than thirty minutes.”
MicroGEM, a Virginia-based molecular biology company, donated the new systems to CrossOver. The company’s Sal6830 SARS-CoV-2 Saliva Test is the first FDA emergency use authorized PCR COVID-19 saliva test.
The clinic is using grants from the following to fund the purchase of the cartridges used in the testing system: Richmond Health Equity Fund, City of Richmond, American Rescue Plan Act as a contributor to the Health Equity Fund, and Virginia Partners in Prayer & Prevention Disparities Grant from the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Health Equity.
“CrossOver clients continue to be at high risk for COVID-19. Offering a PCR test with a quick turnaround means we can provide patients with important diagnostic information and provide treatment as soon as possible,” said Patterson.
CrossOver has provided a total of 4,494 COVID tests and 5,878 vaccine doses since the start of the pandemic, and remains a community testing site for low-income, uninsured people.
The clinic is located at 108 Cowardin Ave. in Richmond and 8600 Quioccasin Rd. in Henrico County.
For more information, visit www.crossoverministry.org.