Dr. Steven Stack discusses COVID-19 testing at legislative committee meeting
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) – On Thursday, Dr. Steven Stack, along with acting state epidemiologist Capt. Dr. Doug Thoroughman, spoke to state lawmakers at a committee hearing about COVID-19 testing, education, when a vaccine might be available, and other COVID-19 related topics.
There have been a lot of questions about COVID-19 testing in terms of its accuracy. With negative tests not reported there is some concern of results possibly impacting Kentucky’s positivity percentage.
“So why would we even report those numbers to the public when they are nowhere near accurate? Well, there’s a huge clamoring for it for one, and for two, the federal reporting numbers brought us to a point of contention,” explains Capt. Thoroughman.
The problem has been using so much data in a system that largely was just invented a few months ago, then disseminating it out very quickly.
“We are compressing what usually takes 2 weeks in a few hours every day,” says Thoroughman.
Kentucky’s public health commissioner and epidemiologist say the process is by no means perfect, but it’s the best they have given the numerous challenges of a pandemic few would have predicted this time last year.
There was testimony that COVID-19 has killed more people in a shorter time span than were taken by the flu last season In Kentucky. Yet there’s been only one pediatric related, suspected COVID-19 death.
One lawmaker questioned why schools are closed more for COVID-19 than the flu?
“They may not get hit as hard by the disease but they can transmit it just the same,” responded Capt. Thoroughman.
Other lawmakers want to know if schools can realistically get back open any time soon and which option is worse: kids trying to learn at home or the possible exposure or spread of the virus? Dr. Steven Stack says the wearing of masks is the key.
“I think if they see all the schools shut down in Georgia and all the states not opening and following the rules, it may help others to see if I wear the mask we can open schools better,” said Dr. Stack.
Dr. Stack also says the bottom line exit strategy is a vaccine, which won’t come about until at least early next year.
Dr. Stack also told lawmakers that while precautions and mandates taken by Governor Andy Beshear weren’t perfect, they were all issued to prevent a health care crisis other states and countries have seen this year.
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