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Silicon Slopes launches 'Test Utah' Initiative

Posted at 10:41 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 00:41:14-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Utah’s largest tech companies join together to fight COVID-19 in the state. is an open-sourced version of healthcare developed by Silicon Slopes in partnership with the Utah Department of Health.

The initiative is meant to double the state’s testing capacity, while gathering data from every Utahn to help healthcare workers “crush the curve.”

“We are doing this because we have families here. There is no other reason. We care about the community. We care about our children. We care about our parents. That’s why we are doing this,” founder Dave Elkington said.

All Utahns are encouraged to take the assessment regardless of symptoms.

An algorithm will determine if that person should be tested, based on their individual situation.

An email will help set up an appointment at one of up to ten new mobile testing sites. Two are currently set up in Orem and Provo. The goal is to test at least 100,000 people.

“If we can test everybody, we can find out who has the COVID-19 virus and who doesn’t,” Governor Gary Herbert said.

That might not be the best approach, according to Tanner Clinic Immunologist Dr. Ray Firszt.

“That is only as good as the moment we took the test,” said Dr. Ray Firszt. “It doesn’t mean the next day you could get infected. It doesn’t mean in five days you get infected. It could give false reassurance because ‘I’m not infected with coronavirus because I was tested five days ago’.“

Yet, Dr. Firszt agrees the data collection can be critical to tracing the disease, especially when used in a targeted response by state leaders and health experts.

“The more data we capture the better. I do think this is an excellent initiative to contact trace people who are infected,” said Dr. Firszt.

Silicone Slope members and state leaders insist assessment, testing and tracing gets us back to normal, faster.

“There probably hasn’t been a time in the history of the state that has been more challenging as we look at this pandemic,” said Utah Senate President Stuart Adams.

The data collected with be shared with the CDC and Utah’s Department of Health. After this, Silicone Slopes says the information will be deleted.