saliva test

Several COVID-19 testing events are planned in Payson next week.

On Monday, Nov. 16, North Country HealthCare Payson is offering testing at 126 E. Main St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is preferred, but walk ups will be accepted.

For more information, call 928-468-8610.

COVID-19 saliva tests will be offered in Payson Nov. 20. Appointments are required, no walk-ins will be tested, and participants must schedule an appointment in advance using the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

The tests take place from 8 a.m. to noon, Friday, Nov. 20 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 913 S. Ponderosa St.

Organizers say the testing process takes about 20 to 25 minutes from check-in to departure. The Arizona Department of Health Services has partnered with Arizona State University to launch several testing sites providing free saliva diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in high-need, underserved communities around the state. Sign-up at azdhs.gov.

Saliva-based tests are thought to be safer for health care personnel and less invasive for participants than nasopharyngeal swabs. The NP swabs require inserting a cotton swab into the nose and pushing it to the back of the palate, which can cause a participant to sneeze or cough, potentially exposing health care personnel to infection and thus requiring more personal protective equipment for health care professionals. In addition, discomfort caused by NP swabs can reduce compliance for repeat testing.

Children under 5 cannot receive saliva tests. Saliva testing requires an approximately 2-milliliter sample of clear saliva. To achieve this, participants cannot chew gum, use tobacco products or have anything to eat or drink — even water — for 30 minutes prior to submitting a sample.

The sample is analyzed using a laboratory technique called quantitative polymerase chain reaction, which searches for trace amounts of the coronavirus. Saliva testing requires fewer materials than NP swabs and fewer personnel to administer sample collection. It does not require using health care professionals to administer the tests — leaving them free to work at delivering care.

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