CDHD: Test Nebraska's COVID-19 results slow due to system glitches

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 12:45 PM CDT
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Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele and Teresa Anderson with the Central District Health Department gave a COVID-19 update on Thursday.

Anderson said there are now 1,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths in the district.

Anderson also said the numbers are lower this week, but will likely go up as test results for the new Test Nebraska program are coming back slower than expected, “This is something we’re working on and want to talk to the state about. We are communicating with the Test Nebraska folks today, as many people are telling us they aren’t’ getting their results. We are working closely with the state and hope to have the glitches resolved soon,” said Anderson. This is the first week the new Test Nebraska program for mass testing has been rolled out.

“There are always glitches with new rollouts and this was a new rollout with the state. In the future we hope to have test results out within the 48 hours of testing. We need to be patient and flexible with waiting for our test results,” said Anderson.

Anderson said those awaiting test results that feel ill should self-isolate until they know their results.

Anderson also spoke about another project the CDHD is working on, which is a case management program for those who have tested positive or are symptomatic. The roll of this program is to help people successfully make it through quarantine and to help stop the spread.

Mayor Steele then went on to give some good news provided by CHI Health St. Francis President, Ed Hannon, which wrote, “We are seeing a great decline in the number of patients with COVID-19 coming to the hospital, both to the ER and the Respiratory Fast Track. The volumes of patients have declined to the single digits each day and we’ve closed the Respiratory Fast Track, that was set up to help with the increase in those patients. We continue to have 50% of our ICU beds and ventilators available for the past 7 days,” said Hannon.

Mayor Steele also mentioned the state of the meat packing plants saying, “The USDA is partnering with the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because they have expertise in these areas. The USDA will work with plants, and state and local officials to ensure meat plants implement practices to keep employees safe and to continue operations. I’m hopeful the USDA will take action to protect workers in meat plants across the country. It’s only fair that the USDA take responsibility for meat plant workers because they are operated by order of the president,” said Steele.

Steele also went on to thank Governor Pete Ricketts for his help in getting more testing to Grand Island.

Steele again extended his invitation to the U.S. Ag Secretary, Sonny Perdue on visit Grand Island saying, “Our city supports agriculture right down to the ground. Secretary Perdue will feel at home with us.”