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Getting Answers: How positive PCR, serology tests are counted in total COVID-19 cases

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Viewers have asked News 4 Tucson questions about how the state counts positive PCR tests and serology tests.

Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said that if someone were to test positive for the coronavirus multiple times, that person is still counted as one case.

"Say you get repeat PCR testing, that acute-based testing because sometimes people do that," she said. "Their employer may say you have to have a negative PCR to come back to work and some people have persistently positive PCR. So you know we actually know of some cases where people have had 15 PCR's so they are not counted as 15 cases, they are counted as one and their case is from the day their first test was done."

However, she said that if a person gave a different name, date of birth or other information where the health department could not recognize that person then it is possible they may get counted twice.

Even if a positive coronavirus patient then gets a serology test, Cullen said that the positive serology test would still be under that one case.

However, when it comes to testing Cullen said that the total number of tests the state health department reports includes all tests that have been completed. Therefore, if someone were to be tested five times for the coronavirus then the five tests completed would be counted in the total of tests reported.

If you have a question about the coronavirus, email GettingAnswers@KVOA.com.

Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.

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