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Utah rapid COVID-19 testing
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Epidemiologist urges more COVID-19 testing; Utah receives rapid test kits

FILE -- Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, waits to speak at the daily COVID-19 media briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, May 11, 2020. (Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Thursday she wants to see Utah expand COVID-19 testing capabilities, even for asymptomatic people.

This comes as Utah is set to receive over a million rapid antigen tests from the federal government this week. 

COVID-19 testing in Utah

Gov. Gary Herbert said he expects to see those tests arrive “immediately.” However, some demographics will be given first priority. 

“This includes close contacts to a confirmed case, exposed first responders, high-risk health care sittings and then we have specific outbreaks,” Dunn said. 

The epidemiologist said this is not a change in the state’s previous strategy — despite conflicting recommendations from other agencies, like the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advising those without symptoms should not get tested. However, Dunn said those considered at risk, who have been exposed to the virus, should get tested, regardless of whether they feel unwell. 

Herbert said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week to provide more funding toward rapid COVID-19 antigen testing in Utah. As a result, the state will receive roughly 1.5 million tests that will provide results in minutes, rather than days or weeks.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States