CORONAVIRUS

U of U Health Switching To Saliva COVID-19 Tests

Sep 14, 2020, 5:34 PM | Updated: 8:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Teams at University of Utah Health are now primarily using saliva COVID-19 tests at five drive-thru sites instead of nasal swab kits.

The saliva test was developed by ARUP Laboratories, a nonprofit enterprise of the University of Utah.

The nasal swab coronavirus tests are widely considered to be uncomfortable, if not painful.

“The big benefit for the person getting the test is they no longer have to have a swab jammed up their nose that far,” said Dr. Adam Barker, director of the ARUP COVID-19 Rapid Response Lab.

He said plenty of people are apprehensive about getting a COVID-19 test because they’ve heard it hurts.

“Now they can go in and they can just simply salivate into a funnel, close the cap off and give it to us, and we’re good,” said Barker.

The saliva test kits can be handed out quickly to patients waiting in cars.

“We think it’s going to make it that much easier for patients to have a test,” said Dr. Richard Orlandi, chief medical officer of ambulatory health for University of Utah Health.

The saliva test is also safer for health care workers, who don’t have to stand around outside in their full PPE.

Right now, they are getting results back to patients in 24 to 36 hours.

“Any barrier that we can remove to getting testing is going to help our community control the coronavirus infection,” said Orlandi.

The saliva test proved to be the equivalent of the nasal swabs, which is considered the gold standard.

They conducted trials by comparing results from saliva tests with those who also tested with the nasal swab, and saliva tests caught five cases the nasal swab did not identify.

“We actually saw a few patients that we would have missed using the gold standard if we weren’t using saliva,” said Barker.

He said ARUP is currently doing 5,000 coronavirus tests a day. Saliva testing will enable the lab to expand to 15,000 by next week.

“We’re going to triple the capacity of what we can currently test,” said Barker.

The lab is also sending more than 10,000 tests a day to ARUP clients across the country.

‘We’re making those as fast as we can and sending them out as fast as we make them,” said Barker.

All U of U Health testing centers have moved to the saliva testing, although they will keep the nasal swab around for those who cannot produce saliva.

The Park City testing site will change to the saliva test in the next few days.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

10 days ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

2 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

3 months ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

4 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

5 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

U of U Health Switching To Saliva COVID-19 Tests