State posts antigen data showing dozens of probable COVID cases

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Recently the state has made strides to make more of the data on COVID-19 in the islands more accessible. That includes now showing “probable” COVID cases based on antigen testing.

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The new chart shows nearly 60 people on Maui fall under this category. To see the antigen data, click here and scroll down below the black dashboard.

KHON2 was first to report the state decided to start reporting antigen data, as many doctors are using these rapid tests to assess likely infections or weed out negatives within a matter of minutes. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is still done to confirm positive results.

The antigen-based numbers are separate from the daily PCR positive cases. These patients may later come up PCR-positive as well.

However, here is how the State Department of Health previously explained how they avoid duplicating positive test results in case counts: “Daily positive case numbers are based on unique individuals tested with PCR test by clinical labs and the State Laboratories Division. The numbers are de-duplicated by the following variables: test result (positive, negative, and inconclusive), specimen collection date, lab test result date, and lab test facilities. If a person’s final test result is positive (or negative), the first positive (or negative) lab test result is captured.”

Another 56 people on Oahu and seven on the Big Island have not yet been tested but are considered “probable”, based on links to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

While they might sound similar, antigen tests are not antibody tests. Antibody tests only find if you have already had COVID, not if you are presently infected. PCR tests use genetic material, and antigen tests use protein fragments, to find active infections. The state is not presently collecting antibody data.

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