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Some at-home COVID positive cases go unreported in Virginia

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates only 7% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are being reported. Experts believe the real case count in Virginia could be much higher.

“You do want to continue being cautious because people are still getting infected, regardless of whether you’re seeing that reflected in the numbers or not,” Dr. Taison Bell with UVA Health said Monday, April 18. “There have been more cases than we’ve accounted for. There have been more deaths than we’ve accounted for, and how wide that discrepancy is it going to depend on this specific community.”

“If you start seeing an increase, just understand that that increase is probably happening beyond what’s being reported,” Ryan McKay with the Virginia Department of Health said.

He says COVID-19 case counts are just a starting point.

“Be aware that there are likely others who have tested positive with at-home [tests] or have COVID and just haven’t gotten a test,” McKay said.

So, how do you report a positive at-home test?

“You can go to a website on Blue Ridge Health District and report a positive rapid test, but it still doesn’t get added to the official case count. So it makes it hard to really get a great sense of what’s happening in your local community,” Dr. Bell said.

The only way to be added to the official case count is to test positive on a PCR test.

“They don’t actually become part of the official case count. In order for that to happen, they need to go get a PCR test,” McKay said.

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