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Louisville hospitals testing more people for COVID-19 than ever before

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to make its mark across the country, Louisville-area hospitals have begun testing more people for the virus than ever before.

Norton Healthcare Director of Operational Optimization Sam Zuege told WAVE 3 News the healthcare system tested 900 people Monday before lunch, and planned to test 2,700 people total on Monday, which would be the most since the pandemic began.

The testing site at Taylorsville Road and Breckenridge Lane had 500 people scheduled for Monday.

“We’re seeing the demand, just fold over fold has substantially increased,” Zuege said. “Every time somebody has a need or a want for a test, we understand that there’s a rationale behind it. And so, we’re just trying, doing our best to provide that care and empathy to those patients.”

To help supply the demand, Zuege said Norton plans to expand the site at Taylorsville Road and Breckenridge Lane to administer more tests. He also said hospital administration is flexing staff members into urgent care sites to alleviate wait times for patients.

UofL Health is also experiencing an increased demand for testing, Dr. Hugh Shoff told WAVE 3 News.

”Either more people are exposed, more people are symptomatic... I think that a lot of those things that protected us, people don’t... have kind of fallen back on, which it is what it is,” Shoff said. “Mask wearing, hand washing, all that sort of thing. And so people get exposed, they get some symptoms and they go out and they want testing. So, it really tells me that one I hope it’s on their minds more, so they want to get tested and two it’s just more prominent in our community.”

In response to testing demands, UofL Health has set up tents at Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, and plan to do so at other hospitals in the system.

The goal is to administer COVID-19 tests for patients who have showed up at the hospital with symptoms, but do not need to be admitted into the emergency room.

Shoff said hospital administration is gathering resources and staff to possibly reopen a mass testing site in Louisville.

“We were on the downslide there for a while and things were looking okay,” Shoff said. “So, now we have to pull back all those resources and try and reinstitute some of those same things. So it’s being discussed and how best to support the system.”

On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed 2,619 new cases and 25 additional deaths due to COVID-19. Beshear also mentioned the state may provide private contractors to get more testing services up and running in high demand areas, and prevent people from flooding emergency rooms to get tested across the state.

He did not mention specific details about potential new testing sites.

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