With positivity rates high, Utah opens more COVID test sites

January 4, 2021 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Department of Health is expanding the number of free coronavirus testing locations as doctors say the state’s positivity rate is troublingly high.

The nearly two dozen new sites across the state are open for anyone to get rapid antigen testing for free even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. They were announced Monday as health officials announced just over 30% of people who taking tests had a positive result.

Positivity rates in recent days put Utah among the top 10 states with the highs positivity rates in the country, said Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious diseases physician at Intermountain Healthcare.

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“The fact is, if you still have percent positivity in the 30% range that is very high,” he said. “We worry were not testing enough and there may be more out there.”

Any surge related to the Christmas holiday likely wouldn’t hit until mid to late January, he said.

“The message isn’t going to change because the calendar year changed. You still have to wear a mask 100% of the time when out in public ... and you have to stop gathering and keeping your physical distancing,” he said.