Cassia Regional Hospital now offering saliva based Coronavirus testing

A woman does a saliva based covid test in this photo from Intermountain Healthcare
A woman does a saliva based covid test in this photo from Intermountain Healthcare(Rachel Fabbi)
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 3:45 PM MDT
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BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -Intermountain Healthcare, including Intermountain Cassia Regional Hospital, is transitioning to saliva-based COVID-19 testing at its community testing sites throughout Utah and in Burley for patients ages six and older in an effort to make the testing process more comfortable for patients.

This method requires 3 mL, or about a tablespoon of saliva (not sputum or mucus). Children ages five and younger, as well as those who cannot produce enough saliva, will still be tested by nose swab.

“This new process should be much more comfortable for patients and enable us to collect samples from more patients at one time while continuing to maintain a high quality of our testing,” said Bert Lopansri, MD, associate medical director for infectious diseases and medical director for microbiology for Intermountain Healthcare.

Though the collection method is changing, the test itself is not, explains Jeremy Cox, the lab manager at Cassia Regional Hospital.

"It’s the same test that’s being run back at the laboratory itself, " Cox continues, “But this is a new sample type, which just allows us to give more comfortable experience for our patient. It’s less invasive than the nose swab, and a little easier on people generally speaking.”

The turn around time is also much faster.

“We’re really happy with that turn around time,” explains Cox “With a nationwide average of 5, 6 even up to 10 days, we’re really happy to that we’ve been able to maintain that 36 hour turn around time.”

Patients who are planning on being tested shouldn’t take anything by mouth at least 30 minutes before their sample collection. This includes eating, drinking, brushing teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, using mints, smoking, or chewing tobacco.

Since they started using it, feedback has been great explains clinic manager Lilian Newey.

“They quite appreciate it being done this way,” Newey continued “We’ve have a few patients come through before and had the nasal swab, and they were very impressed we’re now collecting saliva, and we’re grateful for the opportunity.”

Newey also had this reminder.

“We certainly don’t recommend that people travel and come and get the saliva test, but if you happen to be in the area, you’re not going to be turned away,” Newey said, “We certainly have a huge area of freeway, so we have a lot of traveling people, and if they’re having those symptoms, and want to get tested, they can certainly call our hot line.”

The number for the hotline is 1-844-442-5224.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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