BURLEY — Cassia Regional Hospital switched to saliva-based COVID-19 testing at its community testing sites on Thursday.
Intermountain Healthcare, Cassia Regional’s parent company, switched to saliva-based sample collection at its community testing sites for patients ages six and up to make the testing process more streamlined and comfortable, according to a press release issued by the company.
“This new process should be much more comfortable for patients and enable us to collect samples from more patients at one time while continuing to maintain a high quality of our testing,” said Bert Lopansri, Intermountain Healthcare associate medical director for infectious disease and medical director for microbiology.
Patients who are planning to get tested should not put anything in their mouth for at least 30 minutes before the sample is collected, including brushing their teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, chewing tobacco, smoking, using mints, drinking and eating.
The sample collection method requires 3 milliliters of saliva, not mucus or sputum. Children age five and younger, along with people who cannot produce enough saliva, will still be tested by nasal swab.
Although the collection method is changing, the test will not. The company will continue to use the same polymerase chain reaction test process to maintain a level of high quality, it said.
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