Jenny Olson, a spokeswoman for Olem-based Nomi Health, said: Hired to run Many of the Utah Department of Health’s COVID-19 testing sites.
But she didn’t encourage Utahns to go to the test site just to get a hard-to-find home test kit. This option is “a resource and a backup, but I don’t want the site to be flooded with demand.”
The kit is part of an effort to minimize the anxiety surrounding the test, Olson said.
“They are doing their best to get over the entire line in order to provide enough information to everyone,” she said. “There are many feelings about wanting to take a test. If you are waiting and waiting and no one is communicating with you, it makes it more difficult.”
Several sites along Wasatch Front have reported hours of routes, but Olson said the average wait time was 45 minutes. The fastest place is Tooele, she said, with an average waiting time of about 10 minutes.
Omicron puts the test site in capacity
The state is almost 60 Test site It is “the ability we have now” that carries out about 35% to 40% of all the tests reported in Utah, says state health bureau spokesman Tom Hudachiko. I did.
He said that while the “majority” can provide testing for coronavirus within 30 minutes, only a handful of testing sites are experiencing a waiting time of 1 to 3 hours.
The busiest are the Cannon Health Buildings near Herriman, Draper, Holiday, Provo, Bountyful, Logan, Salt Lake City, Utah State Fairpark and Salt Lake City International Airport.
As Utah continues to see, it creates a driving force for testing. Case is considered high It was the worst time of the pandemic last winter. On Tuesday, the State Department of Health reported 4,661 new cases of the virus and seven additional deaths.
Utah COVID-19 cases are likely to be underestimated
However, the daily number of cases, just below the 4,706 record set on December 30, 2020, is “probably very underestimated,” said Han, a public health professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.・ Kim said. Positive home test results are not included.
Unlike COVID-19 tests performed on state sites and local clinics, clinics and pharmacies, the results of home-based virus tests do not need to be reported to public health authorities like in other countries such as the United States. .. Kingdom.
Kim said there was a problem with the sensitivity of the home test, Difficult to find for a long time Even in front of highly contagious variants of Omicron, on store shelves and online Appeared in Utah Immediately after being first identified before and after Thanksgiving in South Africa.
Especially for Omicron variants, rapid antigen testing is likely to result in false negatives, Kim said. Still, he said, people need to easily know if they are infected with COVID-19 in order to delay the spread of COVID-19.
According to Hudachko, Utah currently receives about 8,000 home test kits from the federal government each week, and about 3,000 have been distributed on test sites in the past week “to ease demand.”
The state is also sending free home test kits to Utahns who are returning or living in remote areas where test sites are not provided, Hudachko said, and so far, those Enough to meet the demand.
More people could come to Utah as production increases following the offer targets announced by President Joe Biden. 5 million Free kit for Americans by March. Increased from 200 million in December.
But Kim said the exact number of cases is also the key to dealing with a pandemic.
“We just dropped the ball,” Kim said by not collecting home test results. “It’s as infectious as Omicron and doubles every few days. It’s very important to know how widespread the disease is.”
Dr. Angela Dunn, Managing Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, said the number of cases in Utah was “absolutely” higher than reported.She urged those who were exposed to or experienced the virus Symptoms Someone who does a negative test on a home test to go to a test site.
There you can take what the former state epidemiologist called the “gold standard” for the COVID-19 test, a PCR or polymerase chain reaction test that can usually be processed within 24 hours.
Do I need to count the results of my home test?
Dan said he wasn’t worried that the test results at home weren’t included in the state’s case count.
“From a public health perspective, it has nothing to do with me. I think the more access to the test, the better,” she said, using information from patients in emergency facilities and emergency rooms. , Added that there are other mechanisms to monitor COVID-19.
So far, this is consistent with the case, Dan said.
Hudachko said that as home testing became a more important part of the coronavirus response, it became less dependent on the number of cases. Instead, public health officials will use hospitalizations and other data to look for trends, he said.
“At that point we feel really comfortable. You will really feel what the illness is doing,” he said, how other illnesses that are endemic rather than flu or pandemics are monitored. Said that.
It is not clear when COVID-19, which declared a pandemic in March 2020, will be confined to some regions rather than a constant outbreak of the virus around the world.
“We are not doing this tomorrow,” Hudachko said. “But at some point this will happen.”
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