Lutz: COVID-19 testing supply an issue as demand for tests picks up

Florida Shatters Us Record Of Single Day Covid 19 Cases
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 08: A healthcare worker test a patient at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater on July 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Pinellas County Government partnered with state and local health care agencies to open a COVID-19 testing site while the state undergoes another surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

SPOKANE CO., Wash. — The demand for COVID-19 testing supplies is an issue across the country, and the situation is no different in Spokane County.

Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz on Monday said the need for testing is growing locally and there is a supply issue for swabs, testing kits, machines and staff to process tests.

“The challenge we’re having right now is, unfortunately, kind of like what we’re going back to in March and April, across the system, and I don’t just mean in Spokane, but across the state, as well as across the nation, there is an incredible demand for testing,” Lutz said.

The Spokane County Health District reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday; 25 local people are currently hospitalized because of the virus. The 20-29 age group continues to see the highest numbers of cases, with 645.

Due to the demand in testing, Lutz said results are coming back anywhere between five and 10 days after tests are taken, meaning Monday’s numbers may have been from people who were tested a week ago.

Lutz said, because of the delay, it is important that people understand the difference between isolation and quarantine.

The Centers for Disease Control says isolation separates sick people with the disease from those who are not sick. Lutz added that people awaiting test results should isolate and assume they are positive until proven otherwise.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to the disease to see if they become sick.

To learn more about isolation and quarantine, as well as the steps to take if you have or have been exposed to the virus, click here.