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PCR test, “gold standard” for COVID testing

"They're the most sensitive test"
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Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 17:45:00-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The PCR test is considered the “gold standard” for COVID testing and the test is expected to be in high-demand once the Canadian border reopens.

Canadians will be required to have a negative PCR test to return to Canada.

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Devices used for PCR testing at Vital Pharmacy.

“PCR test — they're the gold standard of testing. They're the most sensitive test,” explained Joe Bellavia, pharmacist, Vital Pharmacy.

Inside the vital pharmacy on the D’Youville College campus near the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, PCR testing for covid is underway.

“We put an individual cassette in each one,” demonstrated Bellavia.

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Joe Bellavia, pharmacist, Vital Pharmacy.

Pharmacist Bellavia demonstrates how they process samples, which take about 30-minutes in the small machine right on site.

He says the PRC test remains the “gold standard” because it looks at the viral DNA makeup of a person's sample — making the test highly accurate.

“Whether somebody is in the early stages — where they are asymptomatic or they've been exposed for a couple of days now and they might be developing symptoms — that's the gold standard,” declared Bellavia.

Bellavia says when the Canadian border reopens on November 8, he's anticipating a lot of Canadians will be heading to the pharmacy for the required PCR test.

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PCR testing at Vital Pharmacy.

“Sabres game is a perfect example where they could come over be tested before the game and they can go enjoy dinner, enjoy the game and we can provide them with a result before it's even time for them to go home,” remarked Bellavia.

“By the time the Canadian border opens we'll have maybe 30-sites that are available through out Erie and Niagara counties,” noted Kevin Lawson, president & CEO KSL Diagnostics, Williamsville.

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Inside KSL lab in Williamsville.

KSL is also offering the PCR test.

Lawson tells 7 Eyewitness News when the Canadian side of the border reopens he's expecting a “substantial” amount of people seeking the test.

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Kevin Lawson, president & CEO KSL Diagnostics, Williamsville.

“So we do COVID testing — that's PCR based, laboratory tests — very accurate — the results are generally turned around in less than eight hours. They're guaranteed in less that 24, so as long as the trip is planned,” Lawson said.

School children, teachers and staffers with symptoms are also required to get a PCR test.

The KSL lab and Vital Pharmacy have been teaming together conducting testing — receiving a flood of samples from school students and families.

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Inside Vital Pharmacy.

“Patients can come here wait for 35 minutes and we can actually physically hand them or email t hem the results so they can go right over,” Bellavia noted.

That means if a student tests negative and learns about the results, they can head back to school the next day and not be required to quarantine for 10 days.

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KSL conducts tests for students.

KSL continues teaming with the University at Buffalo and funnels its positive lab samples to UB to determine the variant.

Lawson tells me so far 99-percent of the cases right now in Western New York new are the Delta variant.

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Drive-thru PCR testing at KSL labs.