Who gets tested for coronavirus in Shelby County?

Who gets tested for coronavirus in Shelby County?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of the biggest questions about the United States’ response to coronavirus is just how many people are being tested for the disease? And where can you get tested if needed?

The Shelby County Health Department determines at this point if a person gets tested for COVID-19 after a health professional contacts them. Doctors are now saying more tests are needed, and it appears that is coming soon

"This is the nasal swab, you swab both nostrils and you place it on a medium,” said Lance Harrell, nurse practitioner.

Harrell works at the Coast to Coast Clinic in West Memphis.

After the nasal swab is done the results are sent off to a clinic in Texas to determine if the individual has Covid-19.

He called and asked for 10 kits because he knew people could come in with symptoms.

But he does not test every concerned person.

"The symptoms of the COVID-19 virus also mimic the flu and simple sinus infections and upper respiratory infections, so you do have to screen them,” said Harrell.

Patients are also asked about travel.

Dr. Jon McCullers is with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

"Right now, testing is very limited within the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee Health department is the only place you can get tested and they have a limited number of kits that have been given to them by the state,” said Dr. McCullers.

The state health department does publish numbers on how many tests it has run.

As of Thursday night, the lab had run 88 tests for COVID-19. However, only nine cases came back positive.

The state does not count total tests at other places like private labs or V.A. Hospitals.

Dr. McCullers says doctors would like to get more tests and that should come soon.

"We expect in the next week or two for this to change and for us to be able to have commercial testing and testing at some of the hospitals within the city,” said Dr. McCullers.

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