CLEVELAND — Testing for coronavirus comes at a cost.
“There’s always for sure danger and mischaracterizing someone,” said Dr. Gary Procop, Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic.
Procop said the cost, if not done right, could incite fear, add fuel to the spread of coronavirus and even cause more damage to the economy.
“If you have false positives, you’re actually taking people out of the workforce,” he explained.
So, is the price tag worth it?
Dr. Procop said it depends on the type of test and how officials plan to deal with the outcome of the results.
“First thing you have to do is understand the performance characteristics of a test sensitivity and specificity and then you have to understand how that will impact them when they’re used in different settings,” Dr. Procop said.
But what about the actual cost to buy these tests?
According to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, antigen or point-of-care tests cost about $10 to 15 each and offer faster but less accurate results. PCR tests, which have a higher accuracy rate, cost about $100 dollars each and are more time intensive.
On Tuesday, DeWine announced the state is going with the cheaper option through a multi-state partnership to expand testing. DeWine’s spokesperson told News 5 it’s still not clear how many antigen tests the state is looking to buy and got no word back on how much the state expects to spend. However, DeWine said money from the CARES Act will help.
“Collectively we know more about the virus than we did in March and the same way with testing. Testing is evolving,” DeWine explained after receiving a positive result from an antigen test Thursday.
Dr. Procop said it’s not a bad move. He just hopes the state has a plan before those tests are distributed.
“I think that these point-of-care test have a place, but again they have to be implemented in a way with a strategy that will take care of addressing both false positives and false negatives."