Shelby Co. leaders concerned with drop in COVID-19 testing

Shelby Co. leaders concerned with drop in COVID-19 testing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With Mid-South officials focusing their attention on administering COVID-19 vaccines, COVID-19 testing has decreased.

Health leaders say that trend could create several problems.

During the height of the pandemic in December and January, the Shelby County Health Department was running about 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

Right now, health officials say they are running about 2,300 COVID-19 tests per day.

The Health Department is encouraging the public to continue getting a test if you have possibly been exposed or are experiencing COVID symptoms to help with contract tracing, variant identification and more.

“There doesn’t seem to be the same level of infectious activity in the community so that may be part of the reason that the number of people coming out to be tested is lower but I think there’s also the danger that a lot of people think well this is kind of over. It’s not, it’s not over. We do want people to continue to come out and get tested,” said David Sweat, Chief of Epidemiology Shelby County Health Department.

Even if you have received your vaccine shots, you are not exempt from COVID-19 testing.

Studies show that none of the vaccines are 100 percent effective at eliminating infection, although they do prevent a vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths.

But even with a vaccine, you have a small chance of still carrying and spreading COVID-19 without feeling any symptoms.

Sweat says COVID-19 tests are free and widely available and could be very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as we head into Easter weekend.

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