Vermont rolling out new, faster LAMP coronavirus tests

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:43 PM EST
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BERLIN, Vt. (WCAX) - The holidays are here and thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, the picture looks a lot different this year as people are allowed to gather. But leaders say infections still do pose a risk, so they’re urging everyone to get tested.

On Thanksgiving eve a line of Vermonters waited to get tested in Berlin, many because their kids were deemed close contacts in class.

“Just testing to make sure they didn’t get it,” said Mariah Lavanway of Duxbury.

Others were getting tested to keep friends and family safe around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

“Our daughter in Boston works in health care so she’s very concerned about it and is meeting with the public every day. We’re all being careful to make sure she feels safe,” said Bill Pedrick of Northfield.

“My sister is elderly and a little frail so I want to ensure her that I got a test and got the results in time,” said Ray Fredericks of Marshfield.

The clinic was one of a handful Wednesday administering new LAMP tests-- Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification.

It’s just as accurate as a PCR test and is still administered through a nasal swab. But results come back in under an hour and they don’t have to go to a lab.

They are not yet widely available and have been used mostly in school response testing so far.

“These are tests that if the supply chain were different perhaps every state in the country would do them, especially if the cost came down as well,” Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said.

Infection rates are still high, so leaders are encouraging testing before gatherings, and five to seven days after, too.

At the same time, there are rapid at-home antigen tests that you can buy. I was able to pick one up at my local pharmacy for about $30. But not everyone is so lucky. The supply chain is still an issue. But the White House says they want to quadruple the supply by the end of December.

The aim is to then have more tests available for end-of-the-year celebrations or whatever gathering comes after.

Back in Berlin, those waiting in line say frequent testing is here to stay.

“I think it’s with us for a while now,” Pedrick said. “It’s going to be part of the normal precautions that you take.”

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