ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona health director: New antigen test quicker, less accurate than others

Sep 17, 2020, 2:30 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)...
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top health official said a new coronavirus testing method that was introduced to daily reporting totals Thursday is quicker but less accurate than others.

Antigen testing isn’t as accurate at the predominant PCR diagnostic testing, Dr. Cara Christ said, but it provides fast results.

“An antigen test is a very quick, rapid way to for doctors and people who need to make quick decisions…it gives you a very quick test,” Christ, the state’s public health director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

Christ mentioned the antigen test is being utilized to quickly triage patients and to determine whether individuals are safe to live in dormitories and participate in sporting activities such as football.

The University of Arizona has been using the test as part of its reentry plan, according to Christ.

“They are becoming more available for the community,” Christ said.

The inclusion of the antigen test, which was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in late August, was the cause behind a sudden rise in cases in Arizona on Thursday.

Thursday’s case report, which was about 1,000 higher than the previous day and the largest since Aug. 1, included results from recent months of the newly authorized test.

Arizona health authorities reported 1,753 new coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths on Thursday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 211,660 COVID-19 infections and 5,409 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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Arizona health director: New antigen test quicker, less accurate than others