Rapid at-home tests, not included in county wide covid numbers unless followed up by PCR test

Maryland- Rapid tests are flying off the shelves across shelves and health department sites in Maryland, but health departments say they are unable to count many of those rapid results in their county-wide covid numbers.

According to the Worcester County Health Department, if you don’t call and record that positive test to the health department, they would have no way of knowing that positive case or recording it to the state.

They say the state covid recording system, currently offline due to a cyberattack, is reliant on PCR tests that are recommended but not required as a follow-up to a positive rapid test.

“Most of our data is coming from those who take a covid test at home but then go to a lab pharmacy or doctor for a follow up with a PCR,” said Worcester County Health Department PIO Travis Brown. Brown tells us the Worcester County Health Department is receiving a large volume of daily calls, but for scheduling or checking the availability of testing, not following up with results.

Brown tells us people who test positive with mild, asymptomatic cases may never follow up with PCR tests, resulting in unlogged covid-19 cases. He says that kind of data can be helpful with studying pandemics and public health responses.

“In terms of data we would want to see everything we can from that top-down perspective the more we can possibly see helps us,” he said.

Brown tells us the health department is focused on distributing as many tests as possible and is now distributing 60 percent more tests thanks to help from state funds and the MDH.

“We are now receiving something like 500 tests kits from the State,” Brown said. Testing locations and availability can be found on the Worcester County Health Department Website.



Categories: Coronavirus, Health, Local News, Maryland