'Limited Resources' Restrict COVID-19 Testing In McLean County | WGLT

'Limited Resources' Restrict COVID-19 Testing In McLean County

Mar 12, 2020

"Limited resources" continue to restrict who can be tested for COVID-19 in McLean County, officials said Thursday.

Fewer than five people have been tested for COVID-19 in McLean County as of Thursday, the county's Health Department said in a statement. There have been no confirmed cases yet in McLean County.

Currently, testing in McLean County is limited to those meeting CDC criteria: travel from the Warning Level 3 countries and displaying symptoms.

“We understand that people may be concerned and want to be tested,” said Cathy Coverston Anderson, assistant administrator at the McLean County Health Department (MCHD). “However, testing continues to be prioritized at this time due to limited resources.”

The nation's coronavirus testing capacity has been widely criticized by public health experts.

Right now the CDC is telling doctors that they should use their own medical judgment and then "work with their local health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories." But those labs have a limited capacity to test, so some have been turning down doctors' requests.

How It Works Today

For now, here's how testing works in McLean County:

  • Specimen collection is done by health care provider. Today, this is only done "after the provider has been authorized by local public health," according to the MCHD.
  • Testing of that specimen is done at the state's public health labs.

The MCHD says they do want to test more widely once commercial labs to have the capacity. But that hasn't happened yet. Commercial companies are working to develop tests that are faster and less cumbersome to run, NPR reported.

Meanwhile, the McLean County Health Department says it's "actively monitoring ... individuals we are aware of that are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19."

"We are encouraging anyone that has traveled recently to the Level 3 countries to reach out to their local health department for more information on self-quarantining, symptoms, and what to do if they develop symptoms," the department said.