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Intermountain Healthcare launches saliva-based COVID-19 testing

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Courtesy: Intermountain Healthcare

Utah (ABC4 News) — Intermountain Healthcare launched a new saliva-based COVID-19 community testing Thursday.

Starting Thursday, Intermountain Healthcare is transitioning to saliva-based COVID-19 testing at its community testing sites throughout Utah. Intermountain Healthcare officials say the tests will be available for patients ages six and older in an effort to make the testing process more comfortable.

The saliva-based method of sample collection requires 3 mL of saliva. According to health officials, children ages five and younger, as well as those who cannot produce enough saliva, will still be tested by nasopharyngeal 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. Healthcare official say those who plan to be tested by shouldn’t take anything by mouth at least 30 minutes before their test, including eating, drinking, brushing teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, using mints, smoking, or chewing tobacco. 

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