The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that there may be problems with a coronavirus test out of Utah run by UtahTest.com. Basically, UtahTest is reporting less than half the positive test results as those performed with other tests in other parts of Utah. Why this might be bad enough for the residents of Utah who relied upon UtahTest, this same company is supplying test kits to Iowa and Nebraska, which are becoming hotspots for the coronavirus.
The accuracy of coronavirus tests by TestUtah.com has come into question, with state data showing that the rate of positive results among people tested at its sites is less than half what it is for patients tested elsewhere in the state.
And medical experts have been raising concerns about the effort, which has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to the Utah tech companies running it here and in two other states. While Utah’s larger health care systems have relied on national names in diagnostics for their coronavirus tests, TestUtah has obtained its tests from a smaller Salt Lake City company and is processing them at a regional hospital in Orem.
Emboldened is mine.
So what are the questions with regards to UtahTest?
“I worry about having tests routed to a small community hospital lab inexperienced with highly complex molecular testing that uses a test from an unknown company without much in vitro diagnostic experience,” Bert Lopansri, a specialist in infectious diseases and microbiology at Intermountain Healthcare, wrote in an April 14 email that The Salt Lake Tribune obtained through an open records request after it circulated through state offices.
“A pandemic is not the time for amateurs to learn,” Lopansri concluded.