Increased struggles with coronavirus testing supply chain as cases spread like ‘wildfire’

Increased struggles with coronavirus testing supply chain as cases spread like ‘wildfire’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As coronavirus cases climb, the testing supply chain is being pushed to its breaking point.

During Mayor Greg Fischer’s COVID-19 update Tuesday, Metro Health Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said coronavirus cases in Louisville are rising at an alarming rate.

“We have a quickly spreading wildfire on our hands and people seem to be oblivious to the flames,” Dr. Moyer said.

She reiterated that demand for testing grows which creates long wait times for results.

“We’re seeing tests take seven to 10 days to come back which makes contact tracing not possible or feasible,” she said.

Norton Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Hester has seen both testing demand and supply shortages firsthand.

Speaking to the media Tuesday, Dr. Hester said the Norton Healthcare system conducts more than a thousand coronavirus tests per day. He added Norton’s current supply of chemical reagents needed to conduct tests will only last another two months.

“Some of the vendors that provide testing supplies for us have said they have to reallocate those and limit our supply to Kentucky and reallocate those to other states,” he said.

Dr. Hester asked for federal help from Representative John Yarmuth and Senator Mitch McConnell in a letter last week.

“We want to make sure that we’re getting the appropriate allocation to maintain testing here in Kentucky,” he said.

Adding to the struggle, Governor Beshear announced Monday that Kroger’s drive-thru testing partnership with the state will soon end. He said the state is working with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville to re-establish drive-thru testing services.

“Our hope is to have a partner in place even by early next week to meet if not exceed the capacity we are otherwise going to lose,” he said.

The grocer tested 64,500 people since April, contributing to 11 percent of the state’s overall testing. Kroger will transition in August to an appointment-based testing model at 46 “The Little Clinic” locations across Kentucky.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.