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Eastern Kentucky testing lab sees more than 8,000 COVID-19 tests in two-week span

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT
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HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT) - With the surge in COVID-19 cases comes an increase in COVID-19 tests.

Testing laboratories, like Pinnacle Health Management in Leslie County, have been overwhelmed with the influx in COVID test in the past two weeks.

“I was looking at stats, um, before the end of last week and uh, in comparison to January, we are exactly what we was the first two weeks of January,” said Rebecca Lewis, Director of Laboratory Services at Pinnacle Health Management.

On top of the usual toxicology, prenatal, comprehensive and other testing Pinnacle Health covers, the staff have to spend hours processing each batch of COVID tests.

Rebecca Lewis said each batch is compiled of 88 tests and takes about three hours to process.

“We do everything the same day or the following day, because that’s what [patients] expect. A lot of them are waiting on results so they can go back to work, so they can go back to school, or they can just be with their family.”

Not only is it important for people to receive their results quickly, but Lewis said you can’t leave testing samples out for too long or the sample will go bad. To add, the facility only has two machines to process batches, but they plan to order a third machine soon.

With an increase in testing comes a fear that these facilities will run out of tests to administer, but Lewis said her and her staff keep 20 boxes of tests in the back of the facility, and that they’re ready in case there’s a large outbreak:

“It’s definitely, it’s gonna be a busy couple of months for us, but we’re ready to go though.”

Pinnacle Health Management receives tests from 11 Eastern Kentucky counties.

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