▶️ Fast and free – New local COVID test touted as the ‘gold standard’

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At Central Oregon Community College’s Redmond campus, a new COVID-19 testing center is making it easier for Central Oregonians to get their results fast.

“And the incredible thing about this first free rapid PCR test in Oregon, is that folks are going to get their results in one to two hours,” said Jenn Kovitz, COCC’s Public Information Officer.

The PCR test, or Polymerase Chain Reaction test, works like this: after swabbing your nose, your snot on that swab is then analyzed by curative labs for the genetic material, or RNA, of COVID.

That means, your sample of mucus has its RNA copied until the DNA of COVID is found.

Based on how much COVID DNA is in your body determines if you are negative or positive for COVID.

“It’s the gold standard of DNA testing across the country. And it’s something we’re now able to bring to the community with a very rapid result and a result that doesn’t have to take it out to one of our labs,” said Blake Lackey, the Director of Operations for Curative.

After completing your nasal swab, the lab conducts the test on-site, and results are available within the hour on average.

The COCC Redmond site is open to the public, not just students, and you don’t need an id or insurance to access the free service.

“This testing site is done in partnership with Oregon Health Authority,” said Morgan Emerson the Public Information Officer for Deschutes County Health, “For anyone, whether or not you have insurance, the test is available at no cost to the individual.”

The Redmond location was selected due to it being nearby the Redmond Airport, and more locations are on the way in the next few weeks.

“We plan to open an additional community-based testing site in Bend,” Lackey said.

If you’re looking to get a PCR COVID test, the Curative lab at COCC Redmond is open Thursdays through Mondays from noon to 7p.m. and you can book your appointment online.

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