RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A simpler, less invasive COVID-19 test that uses saliva to get results within 28 minutes is now available in the Richmond area.

CrossOver Healthcare Ministry has announced they are the first Virginia organization to have access to a saliva-based testing. CrossOver is a nonprofit charitable healthcare clinic that provides testing for low-income and uninsured people.

According to the clinic, the recently-acquired saliva tests do fall under PCR testing, which is considered to be the gold standard in the field of virology due to its quick turnaround and accuracy.

“These patients are at higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, so being able to diagnose earlier has been really a great service that we’re able to provide for our patients,” said Dr. Danielle Avula, CrossOver’s associate medical director. “We’re always trying to streamline our processes and make sure we can get patients the care that they need.”

“The advantage to using this method is that we don’t have to store a specimen or send it to an outside lab that would take three to five days to process the sample,” Kaitlyn Patterson, CrossOver’s nurse manager, said. “Patients don’t have to wait for results that may no longer be useful by the time they are received. We’re thrilled to have this as an option because it’s less invasive for patients, and we can get reliable PCR results that are more accurate than rapid test results in less than thirty minutes.”

The tests were donated to CrossOver by MicroGEM, a Virginia-based molecular biology company while the cartridges used in the testing system were purchased through grants.

Patterson said CrossOver clients are still at risk for COVID-19, but this new program will enhance their process for testing and treatment.

“CrossOver clients continue to be at high risk for COVID-19,” she said. “Offering a PCR test with a quick turnaround means we can provide patients with important diagnostic information and provide treatment as soon as possible.”

CrossOver has provided a total of 4,494 COVID tests and 5,878 vaccine doses since the start of the pandemic. There are two CrossOver clinics located in Richmond and Henrico. For more information, visit the CrossOver website.