Officials push for more COVID-19 testing as new measures come to Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A month into Kentucky’s fight against the coronavirus, more than 21,000 people have been tested for the virus. Now, Kentucky is officially another inch closer to getting thousands more tested for COVID-19.

“We are going to ramp up to a maximum capacity of 2,000 tests a day, distributed regionally across the state,” said Steven Stack M.D., the Department for Public Health Commissioner. 

The state will partner with 32 hospitals spread out across Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. They are working to get much-needed testing capacity in a reasonable turnaround time. Stack said the materials had just been received as of Monday afternoon and the first 12 specimens arrived before 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

As testing has increased, some are calling into the WHAS11 Rant Line saying the numbers don’t represent reality. Others feel this latest push is still not enough

“I don’t think the numbers are right for the coronavirus because I don’t think Louisville is testing enough people to get an accurate count,” a caller named Nancy said.

“I think if you’re sick, and have the symptoms, you should be able to get the test,” Jeff, another caller, said.

Dr. Stack also said he wishes that was the reality, but it’s all subject to the availability of swabs and testing materials, which has continued to be a roadblock.

“Again, the goal would be to get to the day when we have all the testing resources we need to test everybody who needs testing, and to be able to do it more liberally, right now we’re not there,” Stack said.

So with the limited resources, the first level of priority for testing is if you are a healthcare worker or first responder, above 60 years old, or currently living in a setting like an assisted living home or a prison. Then, if there’s excess capacity, they will move on to test those who have chronic medical problems. 

But in every case, you must have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a fever greater than 100.4 degrees, a dry cough and/or difficulty breathing or diarrhea before getting a test.

“We have the systems in place, testing has started and we have enough supplies on hand to begin to gradually ramp up over the first two weeks,” Stack said.

Governor Andy Beshear says, for now, drive-through testing in the state is on pause but a possible announcement is still to come.

Contact reporter Jessie Cohen at JCohen@whas11.com and follow her on TwitterFacebook or Instagram  

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.  

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.  

MORE ON WHAS11.COM