Utah Department of Health halts use of rapid antigen tests at state testing sites

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UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has announced that it will temporarily suspend the use of rapid on-site antigen testing at all state-operated testing sites beginning Monday, February 7. .

State-operated sites include those operated by UDOH, TestUtah, and TourHealth mobile testing teams.

From Monday, these sites will offer home testing to anyone who receives a PCR test but may also wish to receive results more quickly.

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 on the same day. The data showed that, of those who tested positive by PCR, more than half were negative by the GenBody rapid antigen tests, and 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 don’t need to question the result, the UDOH states:

“Over the past few weeks, UDOH mobile testing teams have started using the GenBody rapid antigen test. These teams reported a trend of higher than expected negative results for this specific rapid antigen test. This prompted our analysis on a broader timeline and the results prompted our decision to temporarily suspend the use of this test,” said UDOH state epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen. “This step is necessary to ensure people receive accurate test results.”

A similar analysis showed that the BinaxNow tests showed better results, however, there is a nationwide shortage of these tests. The UDOH report says that when the state’s supply chain stabilizes, rapid antigen testing can be reintroduced.

The UDOH recommends that people who received a negative rapid antigen test result between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6 consider returning to one of these sites to be retested with a PCR test.

Here is a list of testing locations in Utah.

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