Local entrepreneur and musician Jonnie Cohen has created an efficient online rapid-testing platform, the Test Warehouse, to help address the need for COVID-19 testing. Appointments are booked online, and a medical professional administers either an antigen or an antibody test right at your door. Antigen tests indicate if you’re currently infectious, while antibody tests identify short- or long-acting antibodies, which indicate prior infection. Results are generally ready in 10 to 15 minutes.
“It’s a snapshot of where you’re at,” Cohen explains. At a time when local hospitals and testing sites can be overwhelmed, having a fast testing option is a valuable community resource. And doorside appointments make testing available to people who may not be able to travel to testing sites.
The RT-PCR test, which detects viral RNA, is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, but this detailed molecular analysis requires longer lab time. The hospital wait time can also be long. Most RT-PCR tests involve nasopharyngeal or nasal swabs. Results can take anywhere from two days to a week. Rapid testing offers a way for health to be monitored quickly, and it’s highly accurate, if done correctly by a medical professional.
“What’s unique about our tests,” Cohen says, “is they’re not only the best tests on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization list, our tests are certified by a third-party lab to have the highest accuracy, specificity, and also sensitivity to COVID-19.”
Antigen testing requires a nasal swab. The FDA cautions that, while antigen tests are faster, they have a higher chance of missing an active infection than a RT-PCR molecular test. Antibody testing involves a finger stick or blood draw. Antibody tests don’t detect the virus, they detect antibodies developed in response to it. Developing enough antibodies for test detection may take several weeks after infection.
Cohen learned about rapid testing from business mentor Scott Duffy, who used rapid antibody testing for participants in his business consulting practice. Duffy is involved in a COVID-19 rapid-testing distribution network, providing maintenance testing to control outbreaks.
“Many infections are actually asymptomatic,” Cohen explains, “so it’s really important for essential businesses to be testing their employees to keep infection rates low.” Thinking that this was a mission he could get behind, Cohen created the Test Warehouse. In addition to the Fairfield site, Cohen has also launched testing platforms in Southern California and New Jersey.
Tests are available to Fairfield residents and those within a 15-minute radius. Individuals outside that radius should contact the website about the possibility of being tested in a secure Test Warehouse facility.
“People have to account for the incubation period of the virus,” Cohen cautions. A negative test does not mean you don’t have COVID, it means you’re currently not infectious. Symptoms can take two days to two weeks to develop. This is why the CDC recommends self-isolating for 7 to 10 days and monitoring symptoms for 14 days after suspected exposure. Once the virus has incubated, it is infectious.
“The responsibility falls on individuals to understand the CDC’s guidelines, how the virus works, and how these rapid tests are best used to make safe decisions for themselves and their loved ones,” Cohen says. “The Test Warehouse is a tool I created to help empower people to stay safe in a difficult time.”