TAMPA, Fla. -- From waiting hours, days, or even weeks for answers to finding out if you have COVID-19 in 15 minutes. That's the difference in new tests being offered at Tampa General Hospital's Urgent Care powered by Fast Track.

What You Need To Know

  • TGH Urgent Care among 1st in nation to offer 15-minute tests

  • Urgent care CMO says tests best for low-to-moderate-risk people with known exposure, symptoms

  • Method could be helpful for contact tracing

  • More coronavirus stories

"It's extremely helpful,"  said the urgent care's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Paul Nanda. "As you work to risk stratify those patients, to be able to have a diagnosis and a cause for their symptoms, not just in the urgent care center, but if they get worse and need to go to the hospital, it's nice to have that diagnosis."

Nanda said the urgent care's worked with the manufacturer of the nasal swab test on flu testing for years. That's how it came to be one of the first sites nationwide to offer the test.

The urgent care administered 300 of the 15-minute tests in its first week, but whether or not this is the right test for a patient varies on a case-by-case basis.

"The people who are really high-risk should still probably get the nasal pharyngeal swab that has a higher sensitivity rate. This is really good for those people in that low-to-middle range that have either a known exposure or have mild symptoms," said Nanda.

Nanda said going forward he sees the tests playing an important role in contact tracing, giving people who learn they've had contact with a confirmed case a quick way to find out if they have the virus.

TGH has urgent care clinics in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough. Nanda said anyone interested in getting tested should talk with their doctors about what test is right for them. To make an appointment for a test at TGH, call (813) 925-1903 or visit fasttrackurgentcare.com.