Saliva tests for COVID-19 now available in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The University of Utah Health this week began rolling out saliva tests for COVID-19 — a quicker, less invasive way for people to get tested that experts say is just as accurate as nasal swabs.

“When I became aware that we were going to be able to do this, I was thrilled,” said Michael Bronson, senior director of community clinics for University of Utah Health.

“I knew it was going to be more comfortable for patients, and for our staff,” added Bronson.

Starting Tuesday, four health centers — Sugar House, Redwood, Farmington, and South Jordan — began offering the saliva tests. Bronson says it’s safer for the health care workers because they hand a vial to someone in the car — instead of reaching in, doing a nasal swab and potentially being exposed to a cough or a sneeze from the invasive swab.

“I have heard, anecdotally, over the last several months, ‘yeah — I had symptoms, or I was experiencing symptoms — but I’m not going to get that test done. That just looks awful. Or, my friend had it done and it felt like they were poking their brain, and that’s not for me,'” said Bronson.

The saliva test, he says, is “a lot less invasive.”

“A lot better for you and just gives you that peace of mind if you have tested positive,” added Bronson.

He says a study U of U Health recently helped conduct shows self-collected saliva is just as effective as those deep nasal swabs in detecting Coronavirus. The clinics, he says, will still have those nasal swabs for unique situations — but, he says, they will primarily use saliva testing in the future.

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