Lots of states aren’t reporting quick COVID-19 test results

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Over 20 states aren’t including arise from a kind of quick COVID-19 test in their general case numbers, according to a survey by Kaiser Health News (KHN) The federal government is sending countless these types of tests all around the country in an effort to keep up with the pandemic. If states do not release the results from those tests through their public health departments, it develops a blind area in the total information.

The tests, called antigen tests, work by detecting a little protein on the surface of the coronavirus. They tend work much faster than the tests that try to find the infection itself, called PCR tests, although they can be less accurate.

According to the KHN study, 21 states and the District of Columbia don’t report all of their antigen test results. Fifteen states and DC do not count favorable antigen test results as verified cases, and almost half of the 48 states that responded to the study stated that their antigen test outcomes are probably underreported.

At the start of the pandemic, most of screening performed in the United States was PCR testing. The Food and Drug Administration started authorizing antigen tests in May, and over the previous couple of months, others have began to get in the market

Still, it took until August for the Centers for Illness Control and Avoidance to state that a patient with a favorable antigen test ought to be considered a possible COVID-19 case, even without looking for symptoms. Even now, the company’s guidelines state that PCR tests are “confirmatory” evidence of the infection, and antigen tests (because they’re less accurate) are just “presumptive” proof.

Antigen tests are appealing because they can be run beyond a laboratory, and might be used in physicians offices or perhaps in some schools. However that extensive circulation of tests can also make it hard for officials to report the outcomes to a public health agency. One Virginia nursing home director informed KHN that, if she started to use antigen tests, she ‘d need to hand-deliver results to health authorities on pieces of paper. Some Indiana antigen test results are sent out to health authorities by fax.

Regardless of the data obstacles, antigen tests are becoming commonly utilized in essential locations. The Department of Health and Human being Providers has sent out countless antigen tests to retirement home, which have been ravaged by COVID-19, and it prepares to send out hundreds of millions more. The tests have likewise been popular with institution of higher learnings, many of which are battling out-of-control outbreaks. Stopping working to track the results from those tests could make it seem like cases were stable dropping in an area, even if there was a spike on a college school.

” The lack of info is an extremely dangerous thing,” Janet Hamilton, executive director of the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, told KHN.

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