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COVID cases surge after Christmas weekend, with daily averages nearly doubling over previous week

Health care professionals administer 81,000 tests in last seven days amid at-home testing shortage
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 8:34 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If there had ever been any doubt of a fifth wave of coronavirus cases, Monday’s five-day total of more than seven thousand new cases sent daily averages soaring, nearly doubling from the previous week.

In addition, a 3 On Your Side analysis of data from the Mississippi State Department of Health shows more than 81,000 tests for the virus had been administered over the last seven days, with nearly one in nine testing positive for coronavirus.

The state’s test positivity rate sits at 10.66 percent, twice what it was a week ago.

Long lines hit at least two TrustCare urgent care clinics this week, most notably on Sunday, when a line wrapped around the Jackson location’s parking lot.

Some of those people might have also been unsuccessfully trying to find at-home tests, too.

“We probably had a dozen people just today, asking about it,” said Daniel Rowland, a pharmacist at Saver Express Pharmacy.

At many pharmacies across the area, they’re sold out.

Rowland said the tests they purchased are now on back order.

“We had a hard time getting the at-home test when the Delta surge came and kind of as that calmed down, we were able to get the test pretty easily then. And like I said, really right before Christmas, as this new variant came out, a lot of people were asking about it, bought us out and we haven’t been able to get any more,” Rowland said.

That leaves the only other option: testing at urgent care clinics, doctor’s offices, and county health departments, which health care professionals say are more reliable.

“We’ve definitely seen some false positives and false negatives with at-home tests,” said Stephanie Fowler, who serves as director of operations for TrustCare Health.

Fowler said at-home tests are about 70 percent accurate, and most folks who test positive that way end up coming to the clinic for a second opinion anyway.

Fowler said this surge in testing has also led to more manpower needed to accommodate so many patients.

“We have extremely dedicated staff, and we have been supplementing that also with temporary staff, and we have added testers at multiple locations to help with that increase,” Fowler said.

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