Keeping it low key on  testing

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Good afternoon everyone,

Last weekend, I stumbled across news that Christiana Care was setting up a COVID-19 screening site on the east side of Wilmington.

It turned out that ChristianaCare wanted to keep things low key. Flyers were distributed in the neighborhood as health educators worked over the weekend on getting the word out. Tuesday’s event wasn’t a “come one, come all” invitation and I treated it as such.

The massive health care system had learned its lesson with a drive-up testing event on the Wilmington Riverfront that attracted out of state residents and maybe a few hypochondriacs.

This targeted drive-up testing site was aimed at getting a handle on the spread of coronavirus in a disadvantaged community.

We remain in a period when test kits remain in short supply as state officials struggle to get a better handle on a pandemic that has crippled the Delaware economy.

We do know that an area extending from Wilmington to New Castle and into the Bear-Glasgow area has a large concentration of cases.

Another zone is the Georgetown area in Sussex County, home of a large Hispanic community that works in occupations with a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The concern is growing about whether immigrants, whether legal or undocumented, are living in the shadows with the disease.

We also know that at least some people with symptoms are reluctant to come forward and may wait too long to seek testing and treatment. The rumor mill has also been a factor, with false reports in northern Delaware that volunteer fire companies will not respond to emergency calls involving those diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19.

The elephant in the room is the lack of testing and the inability to get results on a timely basis. It leaves officials flying blind as tests from the state lab turn around quickly, but others going to private labs take days.

Another barrier is the need for a doctor’s order. While necessary, due to the lack of testing kits, it holds back efforts to determine the prevalence of the virus.

Ideally, drive-up or other tests should be available to anyone with a case of the sniffles, even if a few germaphobes sneak in.

Stay safe and healthy and call your doctor if symptoms appear as it might not be complications from allergy season. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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