Bay County health facilities experience COVID testing shortages
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As we say goodbye to the holidays, we’re saying hello to a surge in COVID cases in Bay County.
In the most updated report, the Bay County Department of Health reported 667 additional cases of COVID-19 in residents for the past seven days and a total of 1,353 cases for the past 14 days. With the surge in cases, comes the need for more testing.
“I’ve seen at least a 30% to 40% increase in the amount of people that are coming in with COVID symptoms,” Healthpoint Medical Group Physician Richard Ellis, D.O. said.
Ellis said about 60% of those tested have come back COVID positive. Most already have followed COVID protocols.
“A lot of people that I’m seeing have had vaccinations, but they’re still getting COVID,” said Ellis.
The problem they’re running into now is the lack of rapid COVID tests available.
“We’re running down to less than probably 20 tests now and so once it gets to that point, we just have to wait until we get new tests in order to be able to test people,” said Ellis.
And when people can’t get tests at health care facilities, they opt for at-home tests.
“We’re getting calls at least 15 times a day and probably five to six people coming in and stopping in to see what we have in stock,” RX Express Pharmacy Pharmacist Lauren Parker said.
And Parker said right now, they have none in stock at.
“We got a box of 100 tests in at the first of the week and we ran out of them the same day,” said Parker.
We’re told many, if not most, area health care facilities are also running low, if not out of COVID tests.
“The problem is they’re on backorder and so a lot of times your supply is going to be what’s the limiting factor for you being able to test,” said Ellis.
Because of the lack of availability of tests, Parker said they have to pay double for shipments.
“Everybody’s trying their hardest to get them in. We try every day,” said Parker.
And trying every day is what medical professionals say you should do to find a COVID test. But if you can’t find a COVID test right away, Ellis said here’s what to do.
“If you’re exposed to someone who has COVID, that tests positive for COVID, you should assume that you have COVID, and if you don’t have any significant medical illnesses, a lot of times you may just have to stay home and rest, hydrate, and provide support of care to yourself,” said Ellis.
Ellis said he expects this surge to continue for at least another month and urges people to continue following CDC guidelines.
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