In an effort to more appropriately reflect a change in test reporting to the state, the Allen County Department of Health is revising how it will provide daily case count updates.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved two antigen tests for rapid detection of COVID-19, and the Indiana State Department of Health changed guidelines July 28 to include those positive test results as probable cases for investigation.
Positive antigen cases are now included in the Department’s contact tracing efforts along with confirmed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, which have been used to identify cases since the start of the pandemic.
Another 35 Allen County residents tested positive for COVID-19, with 31 confirmed PCR cases and four probable antigen cases, bringing the total to 3,717 cases and 160 deaths Wednesday.
The Allen County case count now includes a total of 18 probable cases from antigen tests reported since July 28.
Antigen tests are counted as probable cases because they are less sensitive than the molecular PCR tests. The antigen tests are useful in patients with a high virus load present in their nose or mouth during the test collection but are less sensitive when testing people with mild or no symptoms.
For further clarification, below are the three commonly referenced COVID-19 tests:
• Molecular tests (commonly referred to as PCR) detect the virus’s genetic material and are currently the only tests used to count confirmed cases in Indiana.
• Antigen tests detect viral proteins and are currently counted as probable cases (and not included in the state’s daily case count)
• Serology tests are commonly referred to as antibody tests, and detect the body’s immune response to the virus but do not find active infection in a person. These are not currently not counted as cases.
Updates to positive cases and deaths in Allen County are found on the Department’s COVID-19 webpage at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19 and will be time-stamped to keep the public informed with the latest local data.
Basic demographic information on Allen County cases is provided on the website and will be updated at least once a week.
Because of delays in data reporting to and from the state, Allen County case counts may not always immediately match counts provided by the Indiana State Department of Health at https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/.