UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has announced that it will temporarily pause the use of on-site rapid antigen tests at all state-operated testing sites beginning Mon. Feb 7.
State-operated sites include those run by UDOH mobile test teams, TestUtah, and TourHealth.
Beginning Monday, these sites will offer at-home tests to anyone who receives a PCR test but may also want to receive results faster.
The change comes after data analyzed by UDOH epidemiologists raised questions about the performance of the GenBody rapid antigen tests.
The results were obtained from nearly 18,000 Utah residents who received the rapid-antigen tests and PCR tests in the same day. Data showed that, among people who tested positive by PCR, more than half of them tested negative by GenBody rapid antigen tests, and that the results were consistent even for those who reported COVID-like symptoms.
While rapid antigen tests have been shown to be “extremely reliable,” meaning that if someone tests positive on a rapid test, they do not need to question the result, the UDOH states:
“Within the past few weeks, UDOH mobile test teams began using the GenBody rapid antigen test. These teams reported a trend of higher-than-expected negative results from this specific rapid antigen test. This prompted our analysis across a broader timeline and the results motivated our decision to temporarily pause the use of this test” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, UDOH state epidemiologist. “This step is necessary to ensure people receive accurate test results.”
A similar analysis showed that BinaxNow tests showed better results, however, there is a nationwide shortage of these tests. The report from the UDOH indicates that when the state’s supply chain stabilizes, rapid antigen tests may be reintroduced.
The UDOH recommends that people who received a negative rapid antigen test result between Feb. 2 – 6 should consider returning to one of these sites to be re-tested with a PCR test.
Here is a list of testing locations in Utah.