Four Northern Nevada Counties Begin Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing

The Quad-County Emergency Response Team is testing 1,800 people for COVID-19 who do not have symptoms. The Quad Counties are made up of Carson City, Storey, Lyon and Douglas Counties. They have 11 locations set up throughout the four counties. The only requirements are that people have to have an appointment, have no symptoms and live in that county.

"This situation is like a thousand-piece puzzle and by conducting the testing on people who are not experiencing symptoms, it will give us a better picture of what this virus is doing," Jessica Rapp, Public Information Officer for Carson City Health & Human Services said.

People started making appointments for the tests on April 27. By May 1, they were completely booked. Officials say many residents are getting tested out of curiosity and to help create the data. Travis Summers went through the process at Carson High School.

"I traveled from North Dakota earlier, a couple of months ago," Summers said. "So I'm kind of making sure that I don't have it and I'm not giving it to my family, anybody else that I came into contact with."

The Nevada National Guard has activated 1,150 members. More than 50 of them are taking samples for the Quad Counties. Volunteers are also donating their time.

"It really further kind of validates why we joined in the first place," Capt. Patrick Silvaroli, Nevada Air National Guard said. "Service to the country but then also in a national guard level, service to the community and state."

Storey County does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19. The other three have a combined 104 cases but only 45 are still active. 58 people have recovered and one person has died. Those low numbers are why the counties could use their test kits and resources on asymptomatic people while other jurisdictions are only testing people with symptoms. Rapp says social distancing is successful in that region.

"We're seeing a lot of people reach out to us saying 'Hey, I've stayed home for the last month-and-a-half' and because of our community's due diligence to protect themselves, that's why our case count is low," Rapp said.

Places around the state are expanding their testing. Other than the Quad Counties, only Clark County has started testing people without symptoms. Officials hope the data makes a difference for the entire state. Some estimates show that up to 50 percent of people infected with COVID-19 do not have symptoms.

"The whole goal of that is to see the prevalence of COVID-19 in an asymptomatic population and the goal of that data is to help open the state," Silvaroli said.

The entire process takes about four minutes. The test results are available in three to four business days.

"Very simple," Summers said. "Just handed them your ID, right away, told them what appointment you had and then drive through the tents, fill out a couple papers and then pretty much done."

Summers says the nasal test was easier than he expected.

"I figured it was going to hurt," Summers said. "Honestly, you could feel it up there. It's kind of tingly. It makes your eyes water but it wasn't too bad at all."

More testing could continue depending on the results from the first 1,800 tests.

The 11 locations are reserved for asymptomatic testing. If you live in one of those four counties and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are encouraged to get tested by calling (775) 283-4789.