COVID-19 testing sites seeing decrease in appointments

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 9:43 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For the better part of a year, cars have been lining up at Kroger Field to get a COVID-19 test, but those running the site say those lines are getting noticeably shorter.

“They are not getting tested as they were a month ago,” Dr. Luke Murray said.

Dr. Murray is the COVID director at Wild Health, which runs the Kroger Field operation. He says COVID fatigue is likely a leading cause for the drop in testing.

“I wish the answer was because testing wasn’t necessary. But I think the true answer is, people are just tired of it,” Dr. Murray said.

Dr. Murray says the Kroger site did 40,000 tests in January. In February, there was a sharp decline of just 17,000. While the weather last month is considered a factor in some of that decline, Dr. Murray believes guards are being let down too soon as vaccine rollout gains traction.

“When you get a vaccine, you should get tested, because many, many people are feeling very ill a day or two later and they’re just chalking it up to the vaccine. It could be actually having COVID because you did not get immunity that day and what you did do is go out and sit in a room for 15 minutes with a bunch of strangers,” Dr. Murray said.

Tuesday afternoon, Governor Andy Beshear commented on the lower testing numbers, saying the 850,000 Kentuckians who have been vaccinated and those who have antibodies from recent illness could be indicators.

“Testing is going to be a challenge moving forward and we need to promote it. But at the same time, we have to understand with these other two things going on, it’s naturally going to be lower,” Gov. Beshear said.

The governor did mention a new recommendation from the CDC that encourages people to get tested even if they’ve been vaccinated. Because despite roughly 25% of Kentucky’s adults getting a vaccine, Dr. Murray says that is still a long way from 75% needed to get to herd immunity.

The governor says he does not believe the drop in testing is why the positivity rate is dropping. He says it’s still a good indicator that the trajectory is right and cases are in fact going down.

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