Demand for COVID tests growing; significant spike in cases anticipated

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:25 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington set a new high for COVID-19 cases in a single day this week, and the way things look, we could break more records going forward.

Wild Health is expecting to do 4,000 tests at its sites on Thursday and are expecting hundreds of positive cases.

Officials at the College Way testing site say that they’re doing their best to get people tested as quickly as they can, but the demand for tests is getting higher by the day as the omicron variant picks up steam.

“The week before Christmas it [omicron cases] was at 22% and as of Christmas Day we’re at 58% in the US. And that doesn’t include this week so far, so I feel like those numbers are going to keep rising,” said Nicole Merz, Wild Health Director of Clinical Research and Operation.

Merz says that long lines are becoming a common sight out on College Way.

“On Monday, we did 3,200 tests. On Tuesday, we did 3,500 tests. And yesterday, we went over 3,700 and, today, we’re expected to do over 4,000 tests here in Lexington,” said Merz.

The positivity rate at the College Way site has been rising steadily over the past number of days. From 11% two weeks ago, to 16% last week. Merz says she’s confident this week’s positivity rate is going to be even higher.

“Everyone is going to get omicron at some point unless you live in your house and don’t come out for the next six months, you’re going to be exposed to it. The best way to protect yourself from this variant is to get vaccinated and boosted,” said Merz.

The Fayette County Health Department is closed Thursday and Friday for the New Year’s Holiday, so there will not be any new numbers until Monday.

Merz says that if you’re feeling sick, if you’ve been exposed, or if you just want to be safe you can schedule a test online.

Wolfe County Superintendent Kenny Bell says testing is going to be a crucial part of his district’s plan to keep students in school when Christmas break is over.

“I think it’s been on the fore front of people’s minds in our district,” Bell said. “Safety is our number one priority, and if you don’t keep people safe and students safe you can’t learn and your staff can’t be there to teach.”

Bell says his district will host a testing clinic before the second semester starts and he’s encouraging everyone to take advantage. He says that once the semester starts, students will have an optional test to stay program and weekly PCR testing available to them.

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