Sumpter Pharmacy now offers COVID-19 diagnostic testing
Sumpter Pharmacy in Adel has decided to shift their focus away from COVID-19 antibody testing. They are out of the antibody tests and are unsure when they will obtain more. They are now offering COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
Leslie Herron, owner and pharmacist, worked every contact and distribution channel she could find to secure antigen diagnostic testing for COVID-19. They officially began COVID-19 testing for active coronavirus infections on Oct. 19.
“Currently, there are two types of diagnostic tests which detect the virus, molecular tests that detect the virus’s genetic material and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus,” Herron said. “We are administering antigen tests.”
The tests are administered by nasal swab. As opposed to a nasal pharyngeal swab, the swab doesn’t have to go quite as far up the nose, which Herron feels isn’t as uncomfortable.
Herron shared that each side of the nose is swabbed for about five seconds. Next, they put the swab in a reagent tube to extract the sample. The sample is then placed on a testing device and read by an assay machine with results available in 15 minutes.
“Rapid antigen tests perform best when the person is tested in the early stages of infection with SARS-CoV-2, when viral load is generally highest,” she said.
Testing will be done by appointment at Sumpter Pharmacy. To schedule an appointment, call 515-993-1119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a consent form to complete. COVID-19 testing will cost $115.
“We are working on the ability to submit directly to insurance, but for now people will have to self-submit and we provide any necessary paperwork,” Herron said. “Tests can be paid for with HSA/FSA accounts.”
Upon arrival for testing, Herron asks patients to go through the drive-thru to pay. Patients will either be instructed to park and wait in their vehicles to be tested or go into the store to their private testing area.
People experiencing symptoms will NOT be allowed to enter the store and will be tested in their vehicle. Testing will be performed by specially trained pharmacists who will be equipped with adequate PPE.
“I expect antigen testing to be popular amongst people needing to have a negative test for proof they can go to work or travel, etc.,” Herron said. “These people have no reason to believe they have COVID and therefore are no more at risk being in the store than anybody else.”
Depending on individual circumstances, the people who test positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to follow-up with their medical provider and to follow the current CDC and local guidelines for quarantine. Test results will be reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
“Reporting to the IDPH is mandatory for anyone performing any type of COVID testing,” Herron said.
If needed, patients can also request a rapid test for influenza and strep throat. Herron shared that a pharmacy is part of people’s healthcare team, not merely a retail establishment where medications are purchased. They encourage their patients to take advantage of all they have to offer.
There are no age limits to testing at Sumpter Pharmacy, but Herron encourages the high risk, elderly and very young children seek a test from their medical provider if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Herron hopes to fill the niche market for people who are looking for negative test results. Herron feels as people resume traveling, vacationing, etc., there will be many places requiring a negative COVID-19 test within a certain number of days.
“Where will people go to get these tests?” Herron said. “Most clinics are limiting their tests to medically necessary, whether that be people who might be sick or people needing negative proof for pre-surgery etc.”
Sumpter Pharmacy would also like to be a resource for companies needing to do screenings. For larger companies, she envisions going onsite to do a screening clinic much like an onsite flu shot clinic.
“Sumpter Pharmacy is committed to serving the health and well-being of our community,” Herron said. “With that, we look to expand into more point-of-care testing and health screening services going forward.”