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New coronavirus testing site in Houston uses saliva, not a nasal swab; hopes to test 2K per day

A new coronavirus testing center has opened its doors in Houston. The center is testing using saliva, instead of the nasal swab.

HOUSTON — Testing for COVID-19 in Houston isn’t easy. In the last few weeks, we've seen long lines of cars waiting for hours to get a nasal swab test. But a new testing center in the area hopes to help speed up the process. They’re called Bloom COVID-Test. It’s a drive-through saliva testing center.

"So many barriers. Wait times, delays in you being able to get tested. We looked at all the areas where we could improve the process," said Bloom founder Abbas Khan.

The Bloom COVID testing center opened its doors Sunday. They’re located across the highway from NRG Stadium at the old Sam's parking lot.

And so far they’ve quickly maxed out, performing 1,000 saliva COVID tests on their first day. They hope to be able to test 2,000 people daily.

"We are seeing a significant amount of families," said Khan.

So how does it work?

  • No appointment is necessary. 
  • You need to make sure you don’t eat or drink 30 minutes before you do the test.
  • When you get to the drive-through testing center you provide them with a sample of 5 milliliters of saliva.

And within 48-72 hours you get your results back.

"I had a gentleman that was in tears. He didn’t have anywhere else to go he just needed to get back to work," Khan said.

The FDA approved the saliva test a few months back. But how effective is the test?

"The swab does have false negatives. That is people who have the infection come out negative on the test. It is a little higher with the saliva test," said Dr. Catherine L. Troisi with UTHealth School of Public Health.

Although testing is not perfect, experts said it might be the best option for many people.

"It saves the healthcare worker from possible infection since you just spit into a tube. In places where there is not enough testing, this is an easy way to do it quickly. (There are) Some advantages to it," said Troisi.

Experts say people should still quarantine 14 days even if they get a negative result from a nasal or saliva test.

The Bloom testing site will be open from 7 a.m. -11 a.m. And from 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. daily. The cost for the test is $149. They do not accept insurance. They only accept cash or credit.

Location: 1615 South Loop W Fwy Svc Rd

For more details you can check out their website below:

Bloom Labs is offering COVID-19 tests at its Houston drive-through facility at 1615 South Loop W Fwy Svc Rd, Houston, TX 77054. Open daily from 8 am - 6 pm.

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