Doctor with UTHSC, task force gives update on COVID-19 response

Dr. McCullers answers COVID-19 questions

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We talked with a Mid-South doctor who is part of the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force to answer some questions about the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it’s having on the region.

Dr. Jon McCullers the chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center tweeted that lab capacity at commercial labs is severely backed up.

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McCullers says most of the commercials labs that serve the Memphis area also serve other states and regions around the country.

“The UTHSC laboratory is not one of those so we are seeing a great rapid turn around time but we only represent about 15% of overall capacity,” said McCullers. “The great majority of tests are taking 4-7 days to get back and that’s too long for anybody.”

Health officials are asking people to not get tested if they are not experiencing any symptoms. New guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control also advise employers not to send previously sick employees to be retested.

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County health officials are also moving the Tiger Lane/UTHSC COVID-19 testing site to Lamar Avenue. McCullers says the site has been moved several times to areas of the city that present to be a hotspot.

“This part of our coordinated city-county response where we try to mobilize resources, move them where they’re needed. That’s one of the biggest resources we have and so we’re going to move it for some period of time on certain days of the week down on Lamar and try to get more testing to the communities in that direction.”

Visit the https://memphistn.gov/ or the Shelby County Health Department site for information about testing locations and operating hours.

View the full interview with McCullers in the video at the top of the story.

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