ITHACA, N.Y. –– On Wednesday, WellNow Urgent Care announced they would begin offering two types of COVID-19 testing –– both molecular test and the antibody test — at its Ithaca location.

Testing is available for anyone who has or recently had COVID-19 symptoms or believes they’ve been exposed. Tests are available seven days a week with no appointment needed.

“Bringing both types of COVID-19 testing to our communities in Ithaca is a top priority right now,” said WellNow Urgent Care President John Radford, M.D. “As New York prepares to reopen, providing all our communities with answers to their COVID-19 questions is as much our responsibility as is making sure all our centers remain a safe and welcoming place for all urgent care needs.”

The molecular test, like a flu test, requires a nasal swab to determine if a patient has COVID-19. Antibody testing uses a blood sample to determine the presence of antibodies in response to a recent or past COVID-19 infection. Additionally, antibody testing can suggest if an individual may have some protection from the virus and help identify potential plasma donors –– although that claim is still being debated by public health officials.

All patients will be screened in their car, provided a mask, and brought directly to a private patient room for further evaluation and testing. Both tests are highly accurate, and the two accepted forms of COVID-19 screening used by health providers, and validated by the FDA. Labs are overnighted, with results returned three to five days later through an online portal.

“These COVID-19 tests offer Ithaca reliable screening that provides patients clarity on their symptoms and helps guide the best course of action for their care,” said WellNow Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer Tanvir M. Dara, M.D. “Furthermore, using the collective data from these tests may offer a deeper understanding on how widespread the virus is within our communities, helping to inform greater decisions about the health and safety of all.”

All WellNow locations continue to provide treatment for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses, such as sprains, strains, colds and the flu, while also providing on-site X-rays, lab testing and physicals.

The company said that traffic has been slower in the last month –– with more people remaining at home and unsure if they should leave for care.

“We hope the new safety measures put in place (in-car triage and waiting room, more frequent surface cleaning, additional PPE, rearranged waiting rooms, etc.)  help reassure our community that it is safe to come into a WellNow for care,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

WellNow said they’ve also expanded their telehealth platform. Using any web-enabled device, patients can be seen by a WellNow provider from a home. Telehealth appointments can be scheduled online through WellNow Virtual Medical.

Patients who choose in-person treatment are seen on a walk-in basis but may also check-in online or view up-to-date facility wait times directly on the company’s homepage.

WellNow welcomes most insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, Fidelis and Veterans Affairs TriWest. A full list of services and hours can be found online.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com