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Local COVID-19 testing facilities delivering faster results to patients

Testing for the coronavirus has changed rapidly over the course of the pandemic.

TYLER, Texas — More than 28,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in East Texas, according to Texas Health and Human Services

In the early stages of the pandemic it took weeks to get results. Now, in some cases you could get results in days, even hours. 

"Most recently in the last several weeks we [conduct] an antigen test which tests for a different part of the virus," Dr. Jeffrey Beers, physician director at Hospitality Heath ER, said. 

Beers says the ER conducts dozens of COVID-19 tests a day. 

"We received an FDA approved device that we have inside the building and that is allowing us to test and and give the results back to the patient that day," he said. "Most of the time within 30-minutes to an hour."

Beers says scientifically there are benefits of a quicker test result. 

"One of the benefits of that we know right away if the symptoms the patient is having are relate to coronavirus or not," he said. 

Beers says he's seen many people request COVID-19 test as a precautionary measure, whether for traveling or visiting family. He says the facility is an emergency room and patients are treated in the respective manner. 

"We’re not a community testing center," he said. "One of the big advantages,  we are, is taking care of patients that have symptoms of coronavirus and are requiring treatment for that."

Beers says prices can range for a COVID-19 test at Hospitality Health ER. Patients have the option of a cash pay price or billed through their insurance. 

"It ranges between $100 and $150 just for the swab," he said. "But you will get charged a visit including whatever medicine we are giving to you."

Other agencies are also using quicker testing methods. 

"We're a concierge phlebotomy and onsite testing company that supports occupational public health," Will Cooper, director of corporate wellness at Vestra Labs, said. 

Cooper says Vestra Labs' testing is capable of testing thousands of people a day. 

He says while their suited for testing large groups such as businesses, apartment complexes, schools, they can also do individuals or go direct to a patient's home. 

"We can come into our communities, and if we set up for days, weeks, however long, we can test several thousand residents a day," he said. 

Cooper says results are typically provided to the customer within 24 to 48 hours using their two testing methods: a PCR test and blood test. 

"It's one of the only current sure fire methods to track this virus within a community, within a home and try to mitigate it's spread," Cooper said. 

Cooper says individuals can expect to pay a flat rate of $175, but individuals testing within a group the prices start to drop and vary. 

Individuals avoiding a cost associated with COVID-19 testing may also get tested at the local level within their city through mobile testing

Northeast Texas Public Health District provides information on free testing within East Texas. 

Any non-symptomatic person from any county can come to receive a free PCR test for the COVID-19 virus, according to NETHealth. 

For more information on free testing click here