Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health said they will include rapid COVID-19 tests in positive case counts.
The majority of tests administered by local health departments involve nasal swabs. A health professional will insert a long stick with a brush on the end inside the patient's nostril. The bristles must reach far up into the nostril to effectively collect the specimen. The sample from the bristle will be sent to a lab.
The current turnaround time for nasal testing is three to five business days.
Antigen testing takes less than an hour to complete. Molecular testing take days before results are available.
The OSDH began to include antigen test results with the data collection and reporting system. The result of a positive antigen test is considered a "probable" case, whereas the result of a positive molecular test is considered a "confirmed" case.
The Cherokee County Health Department has free drive-thru COVID-19 testing for the virus, and no appointment is needed.
Cherokee Nation Health Services offers drive-thru testing at all health centers. Drive-thru screening is weather permitting, and testing capacity requirements apply.
Antibody testing is not being administered by CNHS.
"The key factor in this decision is the lack of evidence supporting immunity from a positive antibody test," CN officials said. "People who test positive for antibodies likely were previously infected with COVID, but we don't know if the presence of antibodies protects people from reinfection."
According to its website, CNHS can administer two types of COVID-19 testing. Reference lab tests take 24 hours or more for results, and Rapid tests can show results in about 22 minutes. CN said Rapid tests are used on the most critically ill patients because of the limited supply of testing materials. The number of tests and supplies changes often. Cherokee Nation staff said they are working on various supply-chain opportunities for those test kit items.
Health professionals are urging anyone who may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or who is experiencing symptoms, to be tested immediately.
For more information on testing, visit www.cornonavirus.health.ok.gov.