AU Health to offer COVID-19 saliva testing in ‘next couple weeks’

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 12:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As testing for COVID-19 continues to evolve from the nasal swab tests many of you have already taken, AU Health is taking the next leap forward in testing.

Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer of AU Health says that they’ve seen COVID-19 numbers drop off dramatically in the past few weeks. The hospital brings great news -- we’ll have another option for testing very soon.

If you’ve already been tested for COVID-19, you know the nasal swab test isn’t exactly a fun time.

“From personal experience, I can tell you that I would much prefer a saliva test than I would to have a swab done,” Coule said.

Coule says within the next couple weeks you’ll have a choice. Coule and a team at the Medical College of Georgia started working on saliva testing in May.

“Our laboratory professionals here at Augusta University to put us in a position to be a world-class leader in being able to test for this disease,” Coule said.

They’ve been waiting on the FDA and weighing challenges of how to safely handle the test. But now they say there are advantages.

“For example, being able to hand you a tube. But, probably most important is that it’s safer for the people collecting the test,” Coule said.

Testing numbers are down. But more importantly, so are hospitalizations. There are currently 25 patients with COVID-19 at AU.

“We’ve actually gone a couple days now without any new admissions which is a reassuring trend,” Coule said.

Coule also suspects that hasn’t happened since March or April.

“That doesn’t mean that everybody can relax. We have to continue to make sure that we are cautious about our mask-wearing, washing our hands- watching our distance,” Coule explained.

AU couldn’t give us any more details quite yet. They say information about how you can get set up for a saliva test is likely to come over the next couple of weeks.

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