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Test Nebraska increases COVID-19 testing in Central District

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 7:53 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - As COVID-19 cases trend upward, the Central District Health Department is ramping up testing this week in an effort to see where the area stands during the pandemic.

Teresa Anderson, public health director of the CDHD, said the goal is to examine the positivity rate to find an indication of viral spread and activity.

Cars formed a line around the CDHD Monday to kick off testing this week.

Test Nebraska administered about 150 tests last week in the CDHD’s three-county area. Anderson said they’re hoping to almost double that number this week.

Although the CDHD felt there were a number of positive coronavirus cases in spring, Anderson said very little testing was available. By the time testing arrived, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties already had a large number of cases.

“What we’re trying to do this time is get ahead of that and have the testing that will tell us where we are before we get to the point where our volume is so high that we we’re not able to do the social distancing, and the masking and all the things that are going to bring it back down again,” Anderson said.

She said it’s also important this testing is available before schools are in session.

As of Monday, the CDHD reported 1,821 lab confirmed COVID-19 cases with 23 new positives since Friday. By county there are 1,694 cases and 46 deaths in Hall County; 88 cases and 13 deaths in Hamilton County; and 39 cases and zero deaths in Merrick County.

There has also been some concerns over emails people are receiving from Test Nebraska.

The CDHD posted on their Facebook page that some people are saying they registered for Test Nebraska, never got a test, but received an email saying they tested positive for the virus.

The CDHD put out a Facebook post asking if anyone had received emails from Test Nebraska saying they tested positive for COVID-19 even if they never got tested.
The CDHD put out a Facebook post asking if anyone had received emails from Test Nebraska saying they tested positive for COVID-19 even if they never got tested.(KSNB)

Anderson said it’s possible people could be confused about the content of the emails.

“Everything is very carefully coded. It’s highly unlikely that anyone would get results if they’ve never been tested,” Anderson said. “What they will get is a regular email from Test Nebraska asking how they’re feeling and asking them to respond to a survey.”

Andersons said if people are receiving emails saying they tested positive when they didn’t get tested, those results would have a negative impact on CDHD numbers. She said even one or two reports would throw things off.

The CDHD hasn’t received any official documents or photos of these emails. Anderson said if this has happened to you, the CDHD would like to hear from you. You can call at 308-385-5175.

Test Nebraska will be at East Park Villa in Aurora, 1704 L Street, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and at the Central District Health Department in Grand Island from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday. Anderson said anyone is eligible to be tested. You just need to register with Test Nebraska.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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