LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The number of Kentuckians receiving COVID-19 tests is down across the state, and this is a trend doctors are worried about because of the asymptomatic spread.
Hugh Shoff, Associate Chief Medical Officer for UofL Health tells Spectrum News 1, "It’s still out there, it’s still deadly."
It's a common trend that continues to fluctuate throughout the pandemic. Every time the hospital system sees a spike in cases, testing does too, but now their experiencing the opposite. "The demand does seem to be down with regards to our testing numbers," mentions Dr. Shoff.
Shoff believes the downward trend is likely occurring because infections and testing have dropped in the Bluegrass State.
In January UofL Health tested 6,341 people. So far this month they have tested 2,155.
"We haven’t had the big holidays that promote social gatherings where COVID spreads. I think that’s a component. I think there’s a component where people are feeling more relaxed about it because they do see a decrease in infection rates," adds Dr. Shoff.
He mentions the decline in testing also results in possibly further skewing the overall case numbers collected. "It just means we’re not going to be aware of those that are positive, we’re not going to be aware of where the prevalence is in the community as well. We worry just about the accuracy of what our COVID infection rate is," explains Dr. Shoff
The chief medical officer acknowledges that the lower testing isn’t due to the demand.
He says testing is available.
"Our efforts to get rapid testing out there is really for the community, for our patients, for those in those areas to have easier access to more testing," says Dr. Shoff.
On Thursday, UofL Health announced it is expanding its testing options by launching its COVID-19 rapid testing at three Urgent Care Plus locations including two in Louisville and one in Shepherdsville.
Medical experts mention one test will provide patients with both COVID-19 and flu results.
"Every new opportunity for people to be either vaccinated or get testing is a great opportunity to help us better control and get back to life that we want to get back to no masks, social gatherings," explains Dr. Shoff.
The other key difference between rapid result testing and a regular COVID-19 test is that the sample is processed in 15 minutes rather than being sent out to a lab.
"The rapid antigen test is good for people who have symptoms. And it’s good for those people who have active symptoms of COVID or any symptoms of at all sore throat, fever," says Dr. Shoff.
Health professionals are encouraged by the improvement in COVID-19 case numbers but are warning the public not to let their guard down.
"When it comes to testing we still want to make sure people for comfortable and if you’ve had an exposure or you are symptomatic there’s no reason not to get tested," adds Dr. Shoff.
If you are interested in getting a rapid test, here are the locations and times. Appointment aren't necessary and the testing is available to patients age 2 and older.
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
908 Dupont Road
Louisville, KY 40207
UofL Health – Medical Center Northeast
2401 Terra Crossing Blvd., Suite 100
Louisville, KY 40245
1707 Cedar Grove Road, Suite 10
Shepherdsville, KY 40165