Societal mandates for COVID-19 testing have become the norm as a condition of employment, being allowed on schools and college campuses, entry to certain buildings, events, etc. If you are being required to be tested for SARS-COV-2 on a regular basis, you should understand the test options available and request a test that is as non-invasive and as accurate as possible.
A Voice for Choice Advocacy has researched the SARS-COV-2 tests that are available, and while none are ideal, if you are required to be tested, our recommendations are as follows:
- Tests which require saliva over nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, oropharyngeal (OP) swabs, anterior nasal swabs, mid-turbinate nasal swabs, nasopharyngeal wash/aspirates, nasal wash/aspirate specimens and/or bronchoalveolar lavage.
- Sequencing tests over PCR tests, which are newer to the market, but they are much more accurate.
- PCR tests with Cycle thresholds (Ct) under 35, preferably under 30. Above 35 the rates of false positive are extremely high
- Labs that do not share test information, including but not limited to saliva/swap samples, DNA and/or other genetic information with any third party.
- Ability to immediately retest if the PCR test comes back positive and the employee is asymptomatic, to rule out a false positive.
A Voice for Choice Advocacy has requested that each county in California offer at least one free COVID-19 testing site that offers saliva testing: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/AVFCA-Requesting-Saliva-Testing-in-every-county.pdf
To request saliva testing be adopted by your employer/school/university, complete the second page of this document and submit it to them: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/AVFCA-SARS-COV-2-Optimal-Testing-Requirements.pdf
Requests to change to saliva testing are most successful if there are many making the request at the same time. Usually even people who do not have a problem with the swab testing prefer saliva testing if given the option, so reach out to other colleagues and students to do the same. If you are part of a union, also submit the request to them and ask them to request saliva testing on your behalf.
Some labs which offer bulk COVID-19 saliva testing in California are: