Coronavirus News: First use of rapid test for COVID-19 happening on Long Island

FARMINGDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- Three Long Island locations of American Family Care are the first health care providers in the nation to provide the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.

Late last month, the FDA granted emergency use to Abbott Laboratories for its rapid COVID-19 test for doctor's offices and urgent care centers.

American Family Care (AFC) locations in Farmingdale, East Meadow and West Islip began offering the rapid molecular testing as part of full examinations on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, and began testing patients on a regular daily basis starting April 1.

AFC Urgent Care estimates up to 300 tests in total will be provided each day at these three locations combined.

AFC Urgent Care management and doctors want the public to know they are only testing symptomatic patients, and that patients will be seen on a first come first serve basis.

Only a limited number of tests can be performed at each location per day, and management is also considering setting up exams and testing by appointment only.

Patients are asked to visit location websites for up-to-date information and contact information.

"We are in the midst of a major health crisis, a pandemic, and testing provides an important tool for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus," AFC's Dr. Robert Levy said. "With Abbott's new molecular test, we have the capability of examining 2,000 patients each week at our three locations. Having results quickly provides important peace of mind for those who test negative and for those who test positive then know to immediately self-quarantine or seek further medical care."

It's a far cry from what Harvey Bass of Sea Cliff went through. He had a test done at Jones Beach on March 18.

He got the results Tuesday -- 13 days later. He tested positive.

"When I got tested I felt good about it because I figured I'm going to get results, I'll know whether I'm just suffering a regular flu or cold or things and then I didn't hear anything," Bass said.

Bass said he wasn't feeling well, so he immediately isolated himself from his family members, but he worries not everyone may have done that.

"It depends what sense those people were using - if they were still circulating amongst their friends thinking, well no news is good news, then that's aggravating the situation," he said.

Patients who are concerned that they may have the coronavirus and are unsure if they are showing symptoms are urged to call AFC Urgent Care to schedule an appointment.

In some instances, patients may be pre-screened via a telehealth visit to determine if a novel coronavirus test is necessary.

Locations:

AFC Urgent Care Farmingdale
Bi-County Shopping Center, 1037 Fulton Street, Farmingdale, NY 11735
(631) 983-4578
Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., weekdays and weekends

AFC Urgent Care East Meadow

2310 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554
(516) 531-6492
Hours: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekends

AFC Urgent Care West Islip
125 Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY 11795
(631) 400-3430
Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends

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