LAS VEGAS -- Labs across the valley continue to face the overwhelming demand for COVID-19 testing. "We went from about 40 to 70 people to ... 200 to 300 people a day," said Angela Spears, Operations Manager at Phamatech Labs in Las Vegas. She said that demand adds up to thousands of tests a month, which they have to physically process.
So, how do labs process these tests? It starts with collecting specimens using PCR and antigen tests.
RT PCR tests are swabbed in each nostril.
"After we’ve collected the PCR samples, everything is then shipped in a bio-bag and it’s then airlifted to San Diego," Spears said. Scientists at Phamatech in San Diego spend hours in front of machines, putting the samples through multiple cycles to detect potential viral material.
"They have to run it and go through a series of tests to make sure we’re pushing out positive positives and negative true negatives," Spears explained. The clinic emails PCR test results to patients 24 to 36 hours after initial testing. They can be used for travel.
Rapid antigen tests require only one nasal swab, and are administered in house at Phamatech, Spears said. After a sample is collected, the swab is mixed with a solution, which is then squeezed into a cartridge. Rapid antigen test results are produced in 15 to 30 minutes.
Pharmatech is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon. Walk-ins and same day appointments are available.
To schedule a COVID-19 test, click here.