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The number of people being tested for COVID-19 in Utah has dropped significantly in the past three weeks? Why? What does that mean for you and the community?

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Intermountain Healthcare provides COVID-19 curbside testing at 20 community test sites throughout the state to provide easy access for residents throughout Utah.  

During the past three weeks, demand for COVID-19 testing has decreased while the number of new positive cases has decreased.  

Intermountain Healthcare experts say they’re pleased to see a decrease in positive cases of COVID-19 in Utah, but more importantly the percentage of positive cases is going down. As of August 10 (yesterday), the state’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate has decreased to 8.9%.  

“While we recognize this as a step in the right direction, we also want to make sure this decline doesn’t give us a false sense of security,” said Anthony Wallin, MD, medical director of urgent care for Intermountain Healthcare.  

Testing Update: 

The decrease in positive COVID-19 cases can be correlated with a decrease in testing. “We’re currently testing an average of around 2,300 people per day compared to well over 3,000 one month ago – when we saw the highest number of positive cases,” said Dr. Wallin. 

The decrease in testing volumes may be attributed to a number of reasons: 

  • Many people have been in the summer vacation mindset over the last two weeks, and families are beginning to plan for “back-to-school” time. This could be contributing to COVID-19 being more “out of mind.” 
  • Intermountain often treats fewer numbers of ill people at InstaCare clinics during this time of the year.  
  • Intermountain has seen fewer surgical cases at Intermountain over the last month, and pre-procedure testing has previously been a significant portion of tests. 

“We don’t expect the decline to last – especially as we move into Influenza season,” said Dr. Wallin. “During flu season, we will need to be extra vigilant in testing when we feel ill and in taking measures to prevent illness.” 

As kids (and adults in college) go back to school, Intermountain Healthcare experts say the state will likely see increased testing as people will be coming into close contact with others more often.  

Intermountain Healthcare is still encouraging those with at least one symptom to seek testing. Call the Intermountain COVID-19 Hotline at 844.442.5224 before you go to a testing site. 

“Remember – a test is just a snapshot into your health at a moment in time. If you test negative once and get symptoms another time, you still could get – and spread – COVID-19,” noted Dr. Wallin. 

Prevent the Spread 

“Please continue to be extra careful as you interact with others. Wear a face mask in public, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often,” said Dr. Wallin. 

For More information visit Intermountain Healthcare via their Blog, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. If you or a family member is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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