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Intermountain Healthcare switches to saliva COVID-19 test

Sep 24, 2020, 2:54 PM
COVID-19 saliva test...
Medical worker providing a drive-thru COVID-19 saliva test. Photo credit: Intermountain Healthcare

SALT LAKE CITY– Intermountain Healthcare is ditching the COVID-19 test that tickles your brain for a less intrusive saliva test. 

Intermountain announced Thursday it will begin transitioning to a saliva-based COVID-19 test at drive-thru testing sites in Utah. The switch is an effort to make COVID-19 testing more comfortable for people, according to the healthcare company said. 

Patients six years old and older will be offered the saliva test instead of a nasopharyngeal swab. The method requires patients to produce three mL of saliva.

However, children five years old and younger, as well as those who cannot produce enough saliva, will be tested by the 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.  

Those who plan on getting tested should not take anything by mouth at least 30 minutes before their sample collection. This includes eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum and brushing teeth. 

The announcement of saliva testing came before Utah reported the highest single-day count of COVID-19 cases. There were 1,198 positive cases of coronavirus on Thursday. 

Here’s where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Utah. 

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Intermountain Healthcare switches to saliva COVID-19 test