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Kentucky lags behind neighbors in testing for coronavirus

Weeks away from an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases, Kentucky lags behind most of its...
Weeks away from an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases, Kentucky lags behind most of its neighbors in testing for the virus.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Apr. 2, 2020 at 6:54 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Weeks away from an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases, Kentucky lags behind most of its neighbors in testing for the virus.

According to the website covidtracking.com, numbers on April 1 put Kentucky a distant fourth compared to Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana. Tennessee leads the way with a total of more than 32,400 people tested. Through Wednesday, Kentucky totals just 7,900, about a quarter of those tested in Tennessee.

When you factor in Kentucky’s smaller population, the state still tests people at a rate of less than half that of Tennessee. Officials continue to point to a shortage of testing kits.

“I know one of the shortages has been both (protective gear) and testing kits and any extra resources for both of those that the city gets, we’re trying to coordinate with our systems,” Metro Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said.

But the capacity for labs to process those tests continues to show signs of growth. On Wednesday, UofL announced expanded capacity, allowing its labs to eventually process up to 1,000 samples a day from 12 hospitals.

“One of the key aspects, and one of the key benefits, of being able to do that is No. 1, knowing who to isolate in a hospital and knowing who does not need to be isolated,” UofL VP of Research and Innovation Kevin Gardner said. “Those isolation facilities are both limited and they also require a lot of personal protective equipment.”

So far, 8 percent of patients tested in Kentucky have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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