The Utah health department is preparing to transition all COVID-19 testing to the health care system in the coming weeks; however, officials sent a reminder Monday that public health testing is still available in the state up until that happens.
The Utah Department of Health released its testing sites for the week on Monday, which includes dozens of sites across the state. As the number of people getting tested declines, none of the sites require a reservation.
Some of the regular daily locations are closed Monday for Presidents Day. That list includes:
- 5-C Freeport West (Clearfield): Site reopens at 8 a.m. on Tuesday
- Cory Wride Park (Eagle Mountain): Site reopens at 9 a.m. on Tuesday
- Utah State Fairpark (Salt Lake City): Site reopens at 11 a.m. on Tuesday
- Willow Park (Lehi): Site reopens at 1 p.m. on Wednesday
The full list of testing site locations, testing times and other important information regarding COVID-19 testing can be found online, here.
The health department won't provide its daily COVID-19 case update Monday because of the holiday. Those daily updates, which originated in March 2020, will also be phased into weekly reports by the end of next month as Utah health care systems take over testing.
Utah's seven-day, running average of new cases dropped to 1,055 new cases per day compared to nearly 11,000 on Jan. 18, as the health department reported on Friday. The state's "test over test" seven-day average rate of positive tests also fell from 47% on Jan. 21 to 26% on Feb. 12.
Even though the demand for tests has fallen as the number of new cases has declined, the health department still recommends certain people get tested should they experience symptoms.
- People with "significant" underlying conditions. The health department said people in this category may also be eligible for treatments like monoclonal antibodies or antiviral pills.
- Elderly people.
- People who plan to visit someone who is vulnerable because of age or underlying conditions.
- People who work with vulnerable populations, such as health care workers, long-term care facility employees or people who live and work in congregate settings.
- People who have been sick, are improving and want to confirm they no longer have COVID-19.
- People who are traveling to somewhere that requires a negative COVID-19 test.
Gov. Spencer Cox, who announced the upcoming, gradual move to a "steady state," said Friday that Utah is in a "much better place" than it was when COVID-19 was first reported to be in the state nearly two years ago. That's because it's easier to find COVID-19 testing now, and there is also a vaccine and treatments that can help reduce the effects of the coronavirus that didn't exist in March 2020.
"We have tools today that we didn't have two months ago, including widespread home tests and antiviral pills," the governor, added in his reasoning to scale back Utah's pandemic response. "It's now time to transition out of an emergency posture and into a manageable risk model."
Cox went on to say Friday that testing, either at home or through various health care systems, will still be important after March 31. He said the state health department will also continue to oversee disease surveillance, data collection, vaccinations and public awareness of the coronavirus.
"This is not the end of COVID," he said, "but it is the beginning of treating COVID as we do other seasonal respiratory viruses."