Idaho health district clarifies how COVID-19 tests are counted

“We do have some communities with repeated testing.”
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 10:55 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - As the nation and Idaho continue to deal with the coronavirus, health experts say the state needs to find a way to increase its testing ability.

Experts have said the best way to get ahead of COVID-19 before a widespread vaccine is available is to get a better understanding of how many people are infected or have been, so that would mean much more testing is needed. One current issue with the testing data is the numbers of tests administered is not the same as the number of people tested — as some people may get tested more than once.

“We do have some communities with repeated testing,” said Brianna Bodily, the public information officer for the South Central Public Health District. “For example, at long-term care facilities because they have such a high-risk community, we have a lot of elderly people with underlying conditions that could make COVID-19 a very severe attack on their system. Because of that, we do repeatedly test those individuals to make sure if somebody does contract COVID-19, we can help that facility respond to the disease as quickly as possible and limit the spread as much as much as possible to help protect those individuals.”

To date, the Idaho coronavirus website shows over 265,000 tests have been completed but the number of people tested would be much less than that.

There is hope a fast saliva test will soon be available to help increase testing and reduce the turnaround time for tests.

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