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COVID-19 testing may be limited ahead of Christmas

Posted at 10:42 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 00:42:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY — People looking for a COVID-19 test this week should plan on waiting a bit longer than usual.

“We have, since this last weekend, started to see a slight increase in testing numbers. Certain sites have seen some pretty long lines starting to form,” Utah Department of Health COVID-19 Testing Deputy Director Brittany Brown said.

Brown believes it’s a combination of increased travelers, viruses with similar symptoms, omicron angst, and people just being careful before gathering. There are many test options if you’re not able to register for one immediately.

“Our test sites have not been especially busy. I was tested at a state site last week and I was literally the only person there at that time. I drove up, got tested and drove away. It was literally two minutes,” Salt Lake County Department of Health spokesperson Nicholas Rupp said.

Besides three dozen state-run sites that can be accessed through, counties, clinics and pharmacies also administer tests. While some require an appointment, others ask for a registration before accepting walking-ins. Go to your county’s website for more information.

Health experts recommend the PCR test which can take a few days for a result, but is considered the gold standard.

“I recommend a PCR test. It will take a little bit longer It is not that relatively quick antigen rapid test, but a PCR test is useful because it allows us, if you are positive, to sequence that sample and find out with variant it might be,” said Rupp.

The omicron variant detection is important as a potential surge is expected in the coming weeks.