Many central Ky. labs facing shortage of rapid COVID-19 tests

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For the past few weeks, you’ve been able to get a rapid and PCR test when you visited the site operated by Wild Health on UK’s campus. Right now, that option for the rapid test isn’t available. They tell us that’s largely been driven by the latest surge.

The COVID director for Wild Health said there’s a simple reason the antigen tests, or rapid tests, are in short supply.

“There’s always a trade-off between accuracy and speed and people seem to just care more about speed,” Dr. Luke Murray said.

He said they have plenty of the more accurate PCR tests, but it’s going to be a few weeks before the rapid tests they were able to find arrive.

He said they have several suppliers who he’s ordering from, just in case any of them fall through.

“I’ve been here before. Two or three times with different spikes,” Dr. Murray said. “I’ve just learned that it’s better to, and especially now that we are as large as we are, we have so many people relying on us in the state, it’s better to just overstock.”

Their operating has expanded across the state. They’re now at dozens of schools every day. Murray said he’s trying to get school systems to adopt a program known as “Test to Stay,” which would allow more kids to stay in class, instead of quarantining at home.

“Those kids that get exposed, you have to send COVID positive kids home. For the kids who get exposed if we can test them, just two or three times a week, that would be enough safety to keep them in the classroom without exposing other kids,” Dr. Murray said.

Dr. Murray said even if a rapid test isn’t available, in most cases they’re able to have the results of someone who gets a PCR test before 3:00 in the afternoon to them by the end of the day.

Dr. Murray said he didn’t know if they would offer both the rapid and PCR tests at the same time again, if it would lower the number of people they were able to test each day.

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