Increase in infections cause long lines for COVID-19 testing

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By Ashley Chase

COVID-19 testing lines in Utah County increased significantly last week as the omicron variant swept the state.

A Daily Universe reporter experienced the testing overload firsthand last week when she started showing symptoms of COVID-19. The BYU Health Center was booked so she used a free testing center provided through the state titled TestUtah.com.

TestUtah.com is an initiative paid for by the Utah government to provide testing centers across Utah. The website directs users to the nearest testing centers and allows them to sign up for appointments to get either a rapid antigen test or a slower, more accurate PCR test.

As of Jan. 11, certain centers are only taking previously made appointments and not walk-ins; several of these testing centers are also drive-thru only.

When The Daily Universe reporter went to get tested at the Provo Towne Centre Mall, she got turned away and had to return the next day. The wait ended up being only 45 minutes, but other students reported waiting over four hours to get tested.

According to the Utah Health Department, daily COVID-19 tests in Utah have risen from around 19,000 on Christmas Day to almost 48,000 on Jan. 13.

Gov. Spencer Cox announced Jan. 14 that Utahns should automatically quarantine if they have symptoms rather than getting tested. He also said the “test to stay” policy for schools is temporarily suspended.

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