With winter settling in, University of Utah Health is moving most of its COVID-19 testing indoors. The healthcare group said it has expanded testing for the COVID-19 virus to 12 indoor facilities. The move will allow health experts to evaluate patients for seasonal viruses like influenza and the cold, which also produce similar symptoms as COVID-19, the agency said.
The university’s Rice-Eccles Stadium location will remain open during the winter as the only outdoor testing center location. It reopened recently after a truck crashed into one of the testing huts. Other in-car testing locations in Farmington, Salt Lake City and South Jordan will close for at least the season.
Most of Utah’s testing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is conducted outdoors. People drive up to a location, get tested and leave. UofU Health began requiring appointments ahead of time in September to reduce long lines.
Under the new arrangement, individuals seeking to get a test can either visit the Rice-Eccles drive-thru site or schedule an appointment for testing at one of 12 facilities scattered across the Wasatch Front and surrounding areas.
The indoor locations are:
• Centerville Health Center (26 S. Main).
• Farmington Health Center (165 N. University Ave.).
• Greenwood Health Center (7495 S. State in Midvale).
• Madsen Health Center (555 S. Foothill Boulevard in Salt Lake City).
• Parkway Health Center (145 W. University Parkway in Orem).
• Redstone Health Center (1743 W. Redstone Center Drive in Park City).
• Redwood Health Center (1525 W. 2100 South in Salt Lake City).
• South Jordan Health Center (5126 W. Daybreak Parkway).
• South Ogden Health Center (5957 S. Fashion Point Drive in Ogden).
• Stansbury Health Center (220 Millpond Road in Stansbury Park).
• Sugar House Health Center (1280 E. Stringham Avenue in Salt Lake City).
• Westridge Health Center (3730 W. 4700 South in West Valley City).
More outdoor testing may resume if there’s an overwhelming need for testing that exceeds what is capable indoors, said Dr. Richard Orlandi, UofU Health’s associate chief medical officer of ambulatory health. He added that it will likely return in spring, as well.
Although the move indoors was announced recently, officials began to plan for indoor testing during the summer when officials were concerned with staff sweltering in the heat. Winter in Utah leads to a completely opposite situation, with cold temperatures, snow and bitter winds.
“Outdoor testing and winter don’t mix well,” Orlandi said, adding that it should allow staff to be safe and more comfortable.