“If you’re elderly, we do recommend you still go get tested so that you can understand what your risk is,” she said. Older adults and those with underlying conditions should still get tested, Nolen advised. As of Jan. 3, Utah health officials recommend residents isolate themselves for five days after testing positive or exhibiting symptoms if symptoms have improved. After isolation, it is recommended for people to wear masks for an additional five days. In order to preserve tests, the state is also temporarily pausing its Test to Stay program, which requires COVID-19 testing for students in schools encountering an outbreak. State lawmakers on Thursday recommended a pause on the state’s Test to Stay program.
The Cox administration on Friday announced they are recommending Utahns with COVID-19 symptoms not to get tested and instead stay home and isolate as the state faces a critical coronavirus testing shortage. | Updated: 7:16 p.m.
“We’re recommending people who have symptoms, they really should stay home, act as if they have COVID and not necessarily need to go get tested,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, Utah’s state epidemiologist, at a press conference at the Capitol building. “Instead of getting tested, instead of going out and exposing more people we recommend anyone who has symptoms stays home.” | Jan. 14, 2022, 4:56 p.m.
He said the value of testing has changed because contact tracing with the current number of cases the state is facing is “virtually impossible.” Still, state officials expect a back-order of hundreds of thousands of new COVID-19 tests in the next week or two, according to Cox. “Because (omicron) is so much more contagious … many more of our nurses and doctors and those who work at the hospital system are also getting this despite mask-wearing,” he said. “They are catching omicron.” “The virus has changed significantly,” Cox said during the press conference.
The announcement comes after Utah education leaders on Thursday announced they would allow children to learn online temporarily as schools face COVID-19 outbreaks. The Utah Department of Health on Thursday reported a staggering 12,990 new COVID-19 cases, exacerbated by the omicron variant. The state also reported on Thursday that 3,007 school-aged children had tested positive for the virus. “We’ve been running into operational challenges as more and more students and educators and staff have had to stay home to either recover from COVID,” said Sydnee Dickson, state superintendent of public instruction. “These numbers, as you’ve heard, continue to be on the rise and action needs to be taken to ensure that our schools remain safe and functional.”
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