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Who can get tested for COVID-19 and where

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
CDC

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - As of March 11, the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories has tested 67 people for COVID-19, and nobody has tested positive for the virus in Idaho.

That count currently only includes people who have been tested for the virus through the state.

"We have asked the private labs for the testing numbers, and we will provide those numbers at coronavirus.idaho.gov when we get them. We have not received any numbers from the labs at this point," Niki Forbing-Orr, the spokeswoman for IDHW said in an email to Local News 8.

"We are planning to indicate which test numbers are from the private labs and which are from the state lab," she said.

Are there enough tests?

The state lab has enough materials to test between 800 and 1,000 people, and will be requesting more material from the CDC soon, according to Forbing-Orr.

"We’re just trying to be as resourceful as possible with our test kits,” said Evan Bischoff, an epidemiologist for Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH).

Nearly every health district in the state has tested someone for COVID-19, Bischoff said.

Who can get tested?

Not everyone needs to be tested, health officials said. The CDC's latest guidelines for who should be tested were released on Sunday. Priorities for testing include:

  • Anyone who is showing signs of symptoms and is vulnerable to the virus, such as adults over 65 and people in an immunocompromised state.
  • Anyone who has had contact with someone who has the virus and shows symptoms within two weeks of that contact.

If you think you qualify for a screening, Bischoff said you should call SIPH or your local public health department and call your doctor before you go in.

Where can you get tested?

Any medical provider that has proper protective equipment can take a lab sample.

The Portneuf Medical Center is currently only testing high risk patients, according to Mary Keating, the hospital's spokeswoman.

“What we might recommend first, too, is to have the clinician run a rapid respiratory panel to rule out all other respiratory illnesses because that can be done relatively quickly,” Bischoff said.

If the patient doesn't test positive for another respiratory illness, the doctor and public health department will work together to determine if they should be tested.

Where do the tests go?

Currently, only high risk patients have their samples sent to the state lab.

Doctors send low risk patients screenings to commercial labs. Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are the only two commercial labs currently testing Idahoans.

“We’re trying to segue different samples in different areas so that we’re able to have as many samples as possible for the event if Idaho were to eventually have a case… We want to be as prepared as possible for that," Bischoff said.

How long does it take to get results?

If testing is done through the state, it should take one to two days to get results back, according to SIPH officials.

When testing is done through commercial labs, it can take three to four days, SIPF officials said.

How much does it cost?

Tests done through the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories are free.

Local News 8 reached out to both Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp to find out their pricing index for uninsured patients, but LabCorp has not called back yet.

In a statement, Quest Diagnostics officials said, "We have not yet finalized our uninsured patient price. Our goal is to enable broad access."

Follow Local News 8 for more information about COVID-19 as it becomes available.

More information about the Idaho's response to the virus can be found here.

Coronavirus Coverage / Health / Idaho / Local News / News / Pocatello / Videos
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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

Comments

1 Comment

  1. Jiffy Lube is administering the tests as well. Get tested while your car gets lubed. Jimmy from Rigby was courteous and efficient. He even washed his hands – well sort of.

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