New oral swab debuts with happy COVID testers in Liberty


The new test is less invasive than the nasal swab

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – If you’ve had a COVID-19 test, you probably know all too well the uncomfortable feeling of having one of those long swabs pushed painfully far up your nose.

Michael Marantis is a distributor with Cornerstone CM, a Poland-based medical supply company. He also contracted the coronavirus in July.

“I’ve been tested probably seven, eight times and it never gets any easier,” he said.

Marantis’ supplier recently came up with what are known as oral palate tests, which take samples from the roof of the patient’s mouth.

“As mucus drains down, we’re able to collect it right at the top of the roof of the mouth in that section,” Marantis said.

Dr. Lena Esmail, with QUICKmed Urgent Care, said oral palate tests are a lot easier for patients to handle.

“The discomfort is almost not there at all. It’s a quick swab, tickle at the roof of the throat. Simple as that,” she said.

Angela Ceroli, of Youngstown, tried out the test Thursday at the QUICKmed in Liberty.

“I had a nasal flu swab before and it was awful. This is not very invasive and pretty quick,” she said.

Mercy Health can also use the oral swabs. Medical Director Jim Kravec said they are approved for COVID testing but adds some experts still believe the nasal tests are more accurate. But, Marantis claims the FDA has shown that the oral swabs are just as accurate as the nasal PCR tests.

As more positive cases are reported around the area, clinics like QUICKmed are seeing more people asking to be tested.

“We’re back up to testing 100 people a day. We hover around the 15% positive mark,” Esmail said.

As testing increases, Marantis expect to see more requests for the new swabs.

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