No doctor's referrals needed for self-administered test

The Delaware Division of Public Health expanded its statewide testing for COVID-19 that will reach about 200,000 people through a partnership with Curative Inc., a Los Angeles-based company that created a self-administered coronavirus test.

Curative will provide the kits and process the results, and the state decides on locations, dates and times.

Agatha Bacelar, Curative’s COVID-19 testing coordinator, said people do not need a doctor’s referral or have any symptoms to take it.

“You don't have to meet any eligibility criteria [to take the test]. It's as easy as making an appointment online and showing up,” she said.

For people who don’t have internet access, Bacelar said people can show up at the location for on-site registration.

The expanded testing began May 14 at Nanticoke Health Services at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Seaford. Bacelar said two more sites will be added this month.

One will be at Middletown High School May 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the other will be at the Dover Department of Motor Vehicles May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bacelar said the tests are self-administered. Individuals will receive a bag with a swab and a test tube in it. People will use the swab to get a saliva sample from their mouth and put it into the test tube. When they leave the site, people can drop the bag with the tube inside into a collection bin.

“There are other drive-thru tests where they do [nasal] swabs that require healthcare workers to administer the test to you,” she said. “It requires so much more personal protective equipment, which is already in low supply.”

Bacelar said their saliva-based test is 89.7% accurate. According to an announcement from Curative, the nasal-based test — which is often used at hospitals and other drive-thrus — is 79.3% accurate.

“Our test is just as or more effective at detecting the virus,” Bacelar said.

People will receive an email of their results from Curative within 48 hours after taking the test.

Bacelar said Curative will likely do the testing for the next couple of months, but she said it will depend on how much testing they can do and if the Department of Health is able to staff the sites.