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A negative COVID-19 test before holiday travel doesn't mean you're in the clear


With the increase in travel because of the upcoming holiday, there has been an increase in testing for COVID-19. (Photo: KUTV)
With the increase in travel because of the upcoming holiday, there has been an increase in testing for COVID-19. (Photo: KUTV)
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While Utahns are advised to stay home for the holidays, many are still traveling in and out of the state.

With the increase in travel, there has been an increase in testing. Olympus Health and Performance started out as a mobile IV therapy company, but their CEO, Lauren Lightfield, said the need for COVID-19 testing has been so great that now they do testing seven days a week.

She said between their mobile testing office in Salt Lake City, and their soon-to-open locations in Provo and Park City, there is still even more need for testing.

"A lot of expanding to help meet the demand,” Lightfield said.

Unlike some locations, they offer the COVID-19 test for people without symptoms, for which the need has grown as the holidays approach.

"I'm actually going to the airport tomorrow to help a gentleman who is flying to South America, and he has a five-hour layover, and he has to get the rapid antigen test in order to go to South America," Lightfield said.

Lightfield said state guidelines should be followed, including wearing masks and staying only within your household.

"But we know people are out there not doing that, and one of the tests that we do offer is the rapid antigen."

The rapid test is a nasal swab that tells you in 10 minutes if you currently have the coronavirus. She said there is always a chance that you could test negative, while you are in the three-to-five-day incubation period of the virus.

There is a narrow window of opportunity where you could have an exposure the day before Thanksgiving and get tested on Thanksgiving, and still infect somebody because it wasn't detectable,” said Lightfield.

She said if you have been exposed it's best to quarantine for five days, and then get tested for the virus. She also said if you are planning on traveling or being in a large group, consider also getting tested before going back to your family or head back to work or school.

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Lightfield said at Olympus Health and Performance their COVID PCR tests are covered by most insurance. Those are tests that take two days to get the results back and have a 3% chance of a false negative. Their rapid test costs $75. That test gets results in 10 minutes and has about a 10% chance of a false negative.

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