It is taking longer to get test results back for COVID-19 samples than the length of the actual isolation period for a person suspected to be positive for the disease. Commissioner Glenn Anderson asked about testing available in the wake of the omicron surge at Monday’s Western Upper Peninsula Health Department monthly meeting. Chief Health Officer Kate Beer said both antigen rapid tests and PCR, what is officially used to tabulate COVID-19 activity in the region, can be collected at sites run by the department, or in the immediate vicinity.
Beer says antigen tests are used first, and if they come back positive then a PCR test would be administered as a follow up. The problem is the length of time to get results back.
Beer says the issue stems from a federal contractor requiring analysis to be completed off site from the department’s testing facility. Local hospitals are getting results faster, usually in two to three days.
WUPHD has modified its procedure when individuals want to submit samples for COVID-19 testing in Hancock. The Depot Street location should be freed up for people needing to visit for other reasons.
Staffing continues to be an issue in some respects. Narcotics testing is being hampered due to a requirement that witnesses for sample submissions be of the same gender as the person being tested.
Most drug court testing is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday