Uptick In Testing Statewide With Drive-Thru Locations Throughout W.Va.
Testing for the coronavirus is beginning to ramp up in West Virginia. On Thursday, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reported 224 people have been tested total, between the state public health lab and commercial labs.
A day earlier, the state was reporting a total of 148 tests, collected solely by the West Virginia lab.
After opening five new drive-thru testing sites for the coronavirus in Bridgeport, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling, WVU Medicine reported that its staff collected samples from 166 people on Wednesday.
DHHR Spokeswoman Allison Adler suggested not all of those cases had been processed or reported to the state agency by the time their Thursday night count was published. Tony Cardia with WVU Medicine says it takes three to four days to process the tests the university has collected.
As of Thursday afternoon, Cabell County health providers also began offering drive-thru testing from St. Mary’s Medical Center for Education in Huntington. Marshall Health representatives who are involved did not respond to a request for comment Thursday, regarding their test count so far.
Local communities also are taking the helm when it comes to monitoring disease spread. In Clendenin, Kanawha County, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports local health officials have been using a limited number of testing kits from LabCorp.
The Fayette Tribune has reported plans for drive-thru testing at the county 911 center in Fayetteville.
Many have criticized the lack of access to coronavirus testing in West Virginia. On a conference call with members of the press Thursday afternoon, Sen. Joe Manchin said his office wants people who think they need testing to contact his office. He also has been advocating for more testing supplies from the federal government.
“I have been raising holy Cain about not having the tests that we need,” Manchin told reporters. “I’ve had 90 people today [Thursday] contact my office that want tests. They have symptoms, they can’t get it.”
Carolyn Vigil, wife to the first person in the state to test positive for the coronavirus, told Time Magazine about the struggles she and her husband had while waiting for testing and the results.
To qualify for testing at any of the described locations in West Virginia, officials have said patients must be screened by a physician for coronavirus symptoms.
Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.