Want a COVID test but don't want a nasal swab? Saliva tests are now available

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — San Juan County residents now have a new option for COVID-19 testing.

Saliva tests are being conducted at Judy Nelson Elementary School in Kirtland daily. Appointments can be made online at curative.com or call 1-888-702-9042.

County Emergency Manager Mike Mestas told the San Juan County Commission that the saliva tests can have results available within 24 to 48 hours. The San Juan County Commission met on Dec. 1 and the meeting can be viewed on YouTube.

The National Guard is hosting these clinics from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. There are more than 200 tests available each day.

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This is a less invasive method than the nasal swabs that are available during testing dates and times at McGee Park and San Juan College.

The test site at Judy Nelson Elementary School can be accessed by turning off of U.S. Highway 64 onto Road 6575 and then turning west onto Road 6580.

County officials encouraged residents to get tested even if they do not have symptoms. San Juan County Manager Mike Stark said the state’s tiered county-by-county restrictions are in place partially to encourage more people to get tested. If more people are tested, it could potentially lower the test positivity rate, especially if more people test negative.

San Juan County currently meets the criteria to be in the red tier, which is the most restrictive tier. If the county moves to the yellow tier, there could be limited indoor dining as well as outdoor dining. Under the red tier, the restaurants must operate with outdoor dining, curbside and delivery only.

Even if it reaches the green tier, which is the least restrictive, there will not be a full reopening, Stark said. Using the restaurants as an example, Stark said the green tier would allow 50% maximum occupancy for indoor dining. Some businesses, including indoor theaters and casinos, will still remain closed.

It won’t be easy for San Juan County to move into the green tier, Stark said.

Test positivity rates must be below 5% to move into the yellow tier. As of Dec. 1, San Juan County’s test positivity rate was greater than 14%. Los Alamos County is the only New Mexico county with a test positivity rate of less than 5%.

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The other criteria that is used to determine tiers is the average number of cases per 100,000 residents. San Juan County must have 10 or fewer cases reported a day to meet that criteria, Stark said.

To be in the green tier, San Juan County would have to have a test positivity rate of less than 5% and have an average of 10 or fewer cases reported a day over a two-week period.

San Juan County may have previously met this criteria in August, Stark said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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