NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A viewer sent in this question: Suppose a person tests positive by the rapid test (and counted) and then confirmed by the longer test – are they counted again in the summary?
The short answer according to the Arkansas Department of Health is no.
“In our system with the epidemiologist, the fancy term is de-duplicate – they basically match them up to make sure this is the same person and that’s one case so it’s not going to inflate the numbers if people get two tests,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said. “Honestly if someone is symptomatic and they get a rapid antigen that’s positive they don’t need that send-off PCR.”
This led us to ask more questions, which test should I get?
“Antigen tests are good for people who have symptoms but they’re not nearly as accurate for people who don’t have symptoms so if you’re a close contact and in quarantine don’t go get an antigen test,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said.
Q: I’m sick but my antigen test comes back negative, should I get tested again?
“We’re recommending get a follow-up longer PCR test,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said. “While you’re waiting for the result you should isolate even if that second test comes back negative, you’re sick from something, isolate until you’re better.”
Q: How are probable deaths determined?
“It’s most likely someone is a probable death and not confirmed is that their test was an antigen test instead of a PCR,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said.
Q: Say someone died from a cause unrelated to COVID-19 but it was later discovered they had the virus, Ss that still counted as a COVID-19 death?
“No that’s not considered a death due to COVID-19,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said. “If you look at the death details [on the website] it’s got some obscure level of a category. They tested positive, they might’ve been positive at the time they died but COVID didn’t kill them. It was something else that they died from.”
Q: Which group of people are dying more from covid-19 than others?
“78% of the deaths in Arkansas due to COVID are over 65,” Dr. Joel Tumlison said. “That’s our grandparents that’s our parents.”
Dr. Tumlison says if you’re planning on gathering for the holidays try to keep the group small, host something outdoors, still wear a mask, and consider restricting social activities 14 days before so that you limit being exposed to the virus.
You can watch the full video below: