COVID-19: Doctor explains how the nasal swab procedure works | KOB 4
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COVID-19: Doctor explains how the nasal swab procedure works

Casey Torres
Updated: March 19, 2020 08:20 AM
Created: March 19, 2020 08:00 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of coronavirus tests have been done at different drive-thru locations hosted by hospitals in Albuquerque.

Dr. Jeff Salvon-Harman works with Presbyterian. He walked us through the process of being tested. To avoid contamination, he said swabs do not enter through the mouth.

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"We don't want to see false negative results because we haven't collected a specimen appropriately,” he said.

That is why they do a nasopharyngeal swab instead.

The swab goes in through your nose first, then it is pushed to the back of your throat. The swab is then rotated to collect any viral specimens that are usually found in that section.

This clip from The New England Journal of Medicine gives a good example. It shouldn’t be painful, but it’s not a fun process.

"It is a little bit uncomfortable. It's not at the sections that we're used to. The tissues are fairly sensitive and we're not used to something touching them,” he explained. “Some folks will have a triggered sneeze, or their nose will start running and draining while we're still collecting that specimen." 


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