NMDOH to introduce COVID-19 saliva tests


New Mexico Army National Guard soldiers check appointment information for people waiting for a COVID-19 test at the Public Health Department testing site in Santa Fe, N.M., on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has announced that it will begin administering an FDA-approved COVID test that involves collecting a saliva sample. The department says it will begin offering the test at Balloon Fiesta Park on Monday.

NMDOH says it is collaborating with Curative, a research company in California that has created the first oral fluid test in the United States. The saliva samples are reported to be at least as accurate as the more traditional nasal swab style of test.

NMDOH also says that these new tests will be self-collected – meaning they do not require a trained healthcare worker to administer – but trained personnel will be present when and where these tests are available to ensure samples are properly collected.

“We continue to look for better and more innovative ways to serve New Mexicans amid this pandemic,” said Acting Department of Health Secretary Billy Jimenez. “We are excited to provide faster, more convenient methods of COVID-19 testing to the public. The saliva test is less invasive to clients, reduces exposure to healthcare workers, alleviates some of the strain on our labs and will hopefully reduce the burden of PPE usage in our state.”

As with all COVID-19 tests in New Mexico, these tests are reported to be administered for free; clients must pre-register here.

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