MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new step on Monday toward speeding up COVID-19 test result turnaround times in Florida.
During a news conference at Broward Health’s corporate office in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. DeSantis announced that two state-run testing sites, Marlins Park in Miami and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, will add a lane for antigen testing starting Wednesday.
The antigen testing is for people who have symptoms of coronavirus and those 65 years of age and older
He added those antigen test results will be available within 15 minutes.
There will be 1,250 tests available per day at the two state-run sites.
“Now we will get real-time data about the percent testing positive. I think it will be really good. People want to know and they want those results back,” said DeSantis.
So what is the difference between an antigen test and an antibody test?
An antigen is the part of a virus that elicits an immune response. Antigen tests look for antigen proteins. An antigen test can only reveal whether a person is currently infected with COVID-19. Before or after the infection has passed, antigens won’t be present.
Antibody tests are blood tests that reveal if a person has already been exposed to the virus and developed immunities.
An RT-PCR nasopharyngeal test is the more common test to determine whether a person has the live virus.
While antigen tests yield faster results, they are also less accurate then RT-PCR tests, according to Healthline.com, which reports false-negative results from antigen tests may range as high as 20 to 30 percent.
The governor said all other state-run drive-thru testing sites will offer symptomatic lanes for people who think they have the virus. They will be “self-swab” samples with results back in two to three days.
Drive-thru sites are also offering antibody testing.
“The antibody test tells you whether you have been infected and if you have IgM antibodies you likely had a more recent infection. If you have IgG antibodies, more likely you were infected further in the past,” said DeSantis.
Following the announcement Monday afternoon, CBS4’s Ty Russell spoke with Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, the chair of the Epidemiology Department at Florida International University, about the validity of the tests.
“Very, very positive and will help to alleviate the situation,” the professor said.
That said, she recommends those who get negative results to test again using the most common way that depends on a lab for results.
“You need to get the other test,” she said.
It’s unclear if testing sites will direct seniors to follow-up, if the results are negative.
All state-supported COVID-19 testing sites closed due to Isaias will reopen Tuesday, except for Hard Rock Stadium, Marlins Stadium, CB Smith Park and Eastern Florida State College, which will reopen Wednesday.
Click here to find a state-supported site near you.