CHARLESTON, W.V. – By Monday afternoon, West Virginia remained the only state in the nation without a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Yet everyone, from the governor to local health officials, are convinced it’s here.
One argument is that the state simply hasn’t done enough testing to really know.
As West Virginia and its neighboring states move to speed up the testing process later this week, here’s what you can expect.
“What we have here is two different swabs, they take the first and go through the nose to get a culture, then they take the second swab and go in the back of the throat,” says Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha County Health Department. “Then it goes into this medium that helps grow the culture, which will then be sent off and tested at these lab services.”
Right now, those lab services are completely back logged. They are federal agencies, and are having to test samples from all across the nation; which is why it’s taking so long to receive the results.
“Places like Quest and LabCorp are getting overrun with these tests, so there is now a delay,” says Dr. Young.
“None of it’s enough,” says Cathy Slemp with WV Health Department. “We’ve been talking about the hospitals and their abilities to do the testing, and they’re working on it.”
Because there are so many people wanting to be tested right now, the criteria for getting tested is only allowing for the most extreme cases.
“There is a certain criteria they need to meet. We are prioritizing that people who are most at risk, or have had the most risk of exposure, they get the priority as far as testing until we’re able to expand that testing,” says Dr. Young.
Governor Jim Justice also stated that he has spoken with President Trump and Vice President Pence via video chat, and they have stated ‘anyone who wants to get tested can do so, and the federal government will pay for it.’