Bay County health facilities experience shortage of COVID testing

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – As we say goodbye to the holidays, we say hello to an increase in COVID cases in Bay County.

In the most updated report, the Bay County Department of Health has reported an additional 667 cases of COVID-19 among residents in the past seven days and a total of 1,353 cases in the past 14 days. With the increase in cases comes the need for more testing.

“I have seen at least a 30% to 40% increase in the number of people who show symptoms of COVID,” said Richard Ellis, a doctor at Healthpoint Medical Group, DO.

Ellis said about 60% of those tested came back positive for COVID. Most have already followed COVID protocols.

“A lot of people I see have been vaccinated, but they’re still getting COVID,” Ellis said.

The problem they are currently facing is the lack of rapid COVID tests available.

“We’re down to probably less than 20 tests now and so once we get to that point we just have to wait until we have new tests so that we can test people,” Ellis said.

And when people can’t take tests at health facilities, they opt for home tests.

“We get calls at least 15 times a day and probably five to six people come and stop to see what we have in stock,” said Lauren Parker, pharmacist at RX Express Pharmacy.

And Parker said at the moment, they don’t have any in stock.

“We received a box of 100 tests at the start of the week and we missed some on the same day,” Parker said.

We are told that many, if not most, health facilities in the region are also weak or even short of COVID tests.

“The problem is, they’re out of stock, so your supply will often be the limiting factor for you to test,” Ellis said.

Due to the lack of availability of tests, Parker said they had to pay double for shipments.

“Everyone is doing their best to get them in. We try every day, ”Parker said.

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, who tests positive for COVID, you should assume you have COVID, and if you don’t have any significant medical illnesses, you will often need to stay home and get some rest. , hydrate and take care of yourself, ”said Ellis.

Ellis said he expects this increase to continue for at least a month and urges people to continue following CDC guidelines.

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