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Knowledge barriers in a national symptomatic-COVID-19 testing programme

Graham, Mark S; May, Anna; Varsavsky, Thomas; Sudre, Carole H; Murray, Benjamin; Kläser, Kerstin; Antonelli, Michela; ... Astley, Christina M; + view all (2022) Knowledge barriers in a national symptomatic-COVID-19 testing programme. PLoS Global Public Health , 2 (1) , Article e0000028. 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000028. Green open access

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Abstract

Symptomatic testing programmes are crucial to the COVID-19 pandemic response. We sought to examine United Kingdom (UK) testing rates amongst individuals with test-qualifying symptoms, and factors associated with not testing. We analysed a cohort of untested symptomatic app users (N = 1,237), nested in the Zoe COVID Symptom Study (Zoe, N = 4,394,948); and symptomatic respondents who wanted, but did not have a test (N = 1,956), drawn from a University of Maryland survey administered to Facebook users (The Global COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey [CTIS], N = 775,746). The proportion tested among individuals with incident test-qualifying symptoms rose from ~20% to ~75% from April to December 2020 in Zoe. Testing was lower with one vs more symptoms (72.9% vs 84.6% p<0.001), or short vs long symptom duration (69.9% vs 85.4% p<0.001). 40.4% of survey respondents did not identify all three test-qualifying symptoms. Symptom identification decreased for every decade older (OR = 0.908 [95% CI 0.883-0.933]). Amongst symptomatic UMD-CTIS respondents who wanted but did not have a test, not knowing where to go was the most cited factor (32.4%); this increased for each decade older (OR = 1.207 [1.129-1.292]) and for every 4-years fewer in education (OR = 0.685 [0.599-0.783]). Despite current UK messaging on COVID-19 testing, there is a knowledge gap about when and where to test, and this may be contributing to the ~25% testing gap. Risk factors, including older age and less education, highlight potential opportunities to tailor public health messages. The testing gap may be ever larger in countries that do not have extensive, free testing, as the UK does.

Type: Article
Title: Knowledge barriers in a national symptomatic-COVID-19 testing programme
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000028
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000028
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Graham et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10170867
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