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WKYT Investigates: COVID labs

COVID-19 testing has been an important part of the state’s fight against the virus, and for the past two years, Wild Health, Inc. has handled many of Kentucky’s COVID tests.
The healthcare company processes all its COVID tests out of a single lab in Lexington.
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 2:14 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - COVID-19 testing has been an important part of the state’s fight against the virus, and for the past two years, Wild Health, Inc. has handled many of Kentucky’s COVID tests.

The healthcare company processes all its COVID tests out of a single lab in Lexington. Their machines can handle more than a thousand tests at a time.

“We run a hundred samples, and see 40 positives, that is a lot,” notes Dr. A. Taylor Bright, Wild Health’s Lab Director. Wild Health’s tests won’t confirm specific variants, but they do know the latest, Omicron, has come with the biggest rise in rates. “Even Delta was only about 15-16%. This strain is particularly contagious, plus the fact that we’re in during winter, air is dryer, it’s easier to infect the upper respiratory pathway.”

Dr. Bright knows the more positive cases, the more patients in the hospital.

“When we see testing up, we know that hospitalizations will follow in two to three weeks. And so that can be disheartening, but I think the best part is that we are getting people the results they need,” he says.

Dr. Bright and his team work seven days a week, sometimes 12-hour days to get those results.

“My job mainly is moving small quantities of liquid around. We’re talking about 1 to 5% of a milliliter. So, minuscule amounts is all we really need, because these machines are so sensitive. We can detect down to ten copies of a virus in your nose,” says Dr. Bright. “These are all remote, so we can all log in and we’re all doing data up until 12, 12:30, 1 o’ clock every night getting data out so people have their results so schools can open in the morning, people know what they need to do to go to work.”

In January 2022, Wild Health was averaging 5,000 daily tests. As predicted, they are now seeing those positive case counts decline.

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