Utah Tech Sector Partners With State To Increase COVID-19 Testing And Data

Apr 2, 2020

Credit CDC

Businesses from Silicon Slopes, Utah’s tech sector, have created an online tool in partnership with the state to collect more data about where Utah’s COVID-19 hotspots are and who should be tested. Through the TestUtah initiative, there’s now an online survey for anyone to take – with or without symptoms – to recommend whether people should seek testing.

In addition to the assessment, the campaign is setting up more testing sites. So far, there are two additional mobile test locations in Utah County, but Dave Elkington, founder of InsideSales.com, wants to set up many more, so the state can reach 4,000 tests per day.

“We hope to have tents all the way from the north, all the way down to the south,” Elkington said. “Our objective is to create ubiquitous testing for anybody who has symptoms and who needs it.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says a big part of addressing the spread of COVID-19 is determining who has it.

“Any initiative that allows us to identify more positive COVID-19 cases allows us to do better public health initiatives, such as contact tracing, investigation, isolation and quarantine,” Dunn said.

As health officials learn more about COVID-19, they’ve noted additional symptoms beside the reported fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. With the state increasing its testing capacity, Dunn suggests people with any symptoms communicate with their health care providers.

“There has been data that show that sore throat, sneezing, headache, fatigue, general body aches could be associated with COVID-19 as well,” Dunn said. “So, we do recommend that people with even those broader set of symptoms seek out advice from their health care provider and get tested, if that’s appropriate.”

On Thursday, the Utah Department of Health reported 1,074 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 62 cases from Wednesday. As the rate of cases has slowed over the past couple days, Dunn is cautious about seeing the results as a decrease in the trend. She says there could be a lag in test results. So far, the state has conducted more than 21,000 tests.