Illinois To Calculate Region 6 Metrics Without UIUC Saliva Test, Responding to ‘Skewed Results'

The test was accounting for 20% of all tests done in the state in some weeks

Illinois health officials Wednesday said that the state's Region 6 will have a new way of calculating coronavirus metrics after a university's saliva test has potentially skewed calculations.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Region 6 will now report metrics separate from those at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as the school's mass saliva testing could give an inaccurate representation of the region.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been performing repeated saliva testing of staff and students twice a week since the school developed the test in August. That test enables the school, and thus, Champaign County, to report thousands of tests each day.

"The (Illinois Department of Public Health) determined that it would be better to measure the region by taking those and putting them aside as we're measuring whether mitigations will be necessary in the totality of that region, putting apart just the campus of UIUC," Pritzker said.

Pritzker explained that he agrees with the health department that this new way of measuring will be more accurate.

Illinois health officials said last month that the tests performed at that U of I campus can average up to 20% of all tests done in the state in some weeks.

"We think that's a terrific thing, by the way, what they're doing, and so more power to them," Pritzker said. "We do want to spread it across the state as much as we can."

Pritzker said the University of Illinois is working to expand its saliva testing statewide and to other colleges, but needs to ensure there are enough available resources.

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