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Primary Care testing 200 people per day as COVID-19 case numbers remain high

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 8:29 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - For several weeks, Primary Care has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 tests.

“We went from doing maybe 40 to 50 tests a day to now we’re doing nearly 200 tests a day,” said Nurse Practitioner Christie Herald.

Herald says Primary Care’s positivity rate was eight percent last month, but is now 12% in November.

“We had 65 that we reported this morning, so that number has grown dramatically,” said Herald. “We have people come from all over the state and even out of state. We’ve had people from Virginia, we’ve had folks from Tennessee and part of that is because they are able to get a result quickly.”

Primary Care partnered with Pinnacle Labs in Hyden about 3 months ago. Pinnacle Labs has the machines to run COVID-19 tests, so Primary Care does not have to ship the tests to Lexington. This gives them the capability to give same day test results.

“At this point I don’t see us getting overwhelmed with being able to run as many tests as we need to,” said Herald.

Herald says many people are getting tested before Thanksgiving gatherings, but urges people to not use that as a free pass and still follow the recommendations.

“If you don’t isolate after that test, or if you had an exposure that was later on and you still have a negative test, there’s still a possibility you could have COVID,” said Herald.

She says the recommendation is to wait four to seven days after an exposure to the virus before getting tested.

“People coming to get tested the day after being exposed, typically you’re going to test negative that day so that’s not a free pass. There’s still a quarantine of 14 days that’s required because you could end up testing positive anytime within the next 14 days,” she said.

Herald also told WYMT, those who have tested positive for the virus once, could get the virus again. She says several in our area have tested positive a second time.

“The CDC doesn’t recognize it as a second case unless there’s been 90 days from the first positive to the second,” Herald said.

For those testing positive, local health departments are asking people to tell those they have been in contact with, as the surge in cases is slowing the contact tracing process.

“As you can imagine when you go from having 10 a week to 65 in a day it gets really difficult to start reaching out to those people,” said Herald.

Herald also said Primary Care does not have a shortage of swabs like the beginning of the pandemic, and can continue testing 200 or more people each day.

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