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Health officials stress COVID-19 testing just as important as vaccinations |

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Health officials stress COVID-19 testing just as important as vaccinations

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- As COVID-19 vaccination numbers go up, testing numbers are going down. State health officials say testing is still important, though.

Many might think just because vaccines are more readily available, waiting in line to get a test shouldn't be a priority anymore. Despite this, officials stress it's the only way we know where the virus stands in our community.

At this time last month, more than 7,000 tests were administered. Tuesday's numbers were around only 4,600. On Wednesday, we learned there was another jump, with more than 8,000 tests conducted over the past day.

Although the positivity rate is climbing, it is still far below what it has been in the past. This number is used to figure out if there are undiagnosed cases in the community, with the lower the number, the better.

"Testing is still important," stressed Caleb Cage, Nevada's COVID-19 response director. "We are still confident in the number of tests that are being turned in and being recorded in our system, and we are tracking the appropriate trends of the virus."

Health officials also want everyone to know testing is still key to help stop the spread of the virus, even as vaccinations become more readily available.

"For all public health measures, vaccination when available is the gold standard of public health prevention and control," explained Julia Peek, deputy administrator of Community Health Services for the Department of Health and Human Services. "Where that is not available, or where it's available, the combination of testing, as well, so those are two foundational parts of the public health response."

They say even if you are fully vaccinated and think you might have been exposed to the virus, it's best to get tested.

As for vaccines, more than 1.3 million doses have been administered in Nevada. Officials say since they have opened up eligibility to those 16-years-old and above, the response has been very good.