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City moves toward new 'Panther' testing for coronavirus

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 18:35:19-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The city of Corpus Christi has rolled out new Covid-19 testing.

It’s the first of its kind to be used in Texas for detecting the coronavirus.

The Nueces County Public Health District has rolled out a new form of Covid-19 testing called the Panther Fusion System.

Now, instead of only being able to do about 100 tests daily, the health department can test up to 250 people a day.

Clinical Lab Supervisor Rachel Rios says there is less room for human error using the molecular Panther testing and it is just as accurate as the PCR nasal testing that was being used before.

“You load it into the actual instrument and the instrument does the whole setting for you,” said Rios. “You also have the other option of a throat swab.”

Panther testing has been used in the past but only to detect diseases like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Rios says the health district was just waiting for it to get FDA approved for coronavirus testing.

“We are one of the only ones in the State at this point that are offering Panther testing because we were really anticipating bringing this on and we were preparing for it,” said Rios.

Panther testing does cost more than PCR testing but Rios says that will not affect you if you want to be tested.

“It’s not something we’re passing on to residents, we are still offering the test for free,” said Rios.

She says the NCPHD will only go back to PCR testing on days when they don’t have enough materials for Panther testing.