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Increase in at-home Covid testing causing cases to be underreported

Experts are warning that with Covid self-testing on the rise, the number of cases reported, which has skyrocketed due to the pandemic, could be even higher than we think.

Despite the convenience of rapid self tests, some Covid cases detected at home are not be making it into official counts. Even with some underreporting, there's a record spike in cases in Riverside County right now.

"There's not a unified way to report it at this point in time; there's not a requirement to report over the counter self administered antigen Covid tests at this time," said Dr. Shunling Tsang, Riverside County's deputy public health officer.

Tsang recommended people report their self swabs to their primary care physician, but she said there are still some kinks to work out.

"That is one of the challenges that we're looking at right now, is how to we collect all of that information," she said.

Public health scientist and UCR professor Richard Carpiano said an accurate reading of Covid in the community is crucial, but there are other data points to consider, too.

"We can't just be focusing on one statistic, on just cases," Carpiano said. "We have to be thinking about ... hospitalizations, ICU usage.

With partially vaccinated or unvaccinated people making up nearly 90 percent of local hospitalizations, county officials urge people to get their shots or boosters.

"If you have not been vaccinated, it's not too late," Tsang said.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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