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Why some health care providers won’t test someone for COVID-19

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:01 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -Several local health facilities are following new guidance regarding COVID tests.

At-home COVID-19 tests are becoming more available,

Some health experts say going to get tested again at a clinic isn’t necessary after taking one at home.

“If you have a positive at-home test, there is no need to repeat that with a medical facility,” said Dr. Doug Griffin, the medical officer at Sanford.

Many health facilities, including Sanford, will no longer offer a test if you have tested positive for COVID at home.

Sanford Health officials say they are already administering record numbers of tests.

“We, at Sanford, are doing about 7,000 tests going to our reference laboratory a day. That’s not even including the antigen tests we’re doing rapidly in the clinic,” said Griffin.

Griffin also says, they have plenty of tests, but not enough staffing to handle the high demand.

How accurate are at-home tests?

Griffin says, very, if you’re actually COVID positive.

“98-99% accurate, for people with symptoms. That can even be mild symptoms,” he said.

If you do not have symptoms that percentage drops.

There are other complications like user error.

“False positives are very rare, but it’s more likely to have false negatives,” said Griffin.

If you do test negative, but have symptoms, you could be sick with something else.

Health experts still recommend visiting your primary care doctor for an evaluation.

Sanford Health officials say they are planning to start asking if a person has had a positive at-home rapid test, before offering you a PCR test.

Some studies have found that at-home rapid tests aren’t quite as accurate as suggested.

One found that antigen tests correctly identified COVID in an average of 72% of people with symptoms, compared to 58% of people without symptoms.

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