Kzoo County COVID-19 testing lacks “three main steps”

Inadequate COVID-19 testing and a backlog of results, a hallmark of the U.S. response to the pandemic, is a burden for the healthcare system here in Kalamazoo County as well.

Dr. William Nettleton, medical director of the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, said once a Kalamazoo County resident receives a doctor’s order – a pre-requisite for actually getting a COVID-19 test administered – the health care system then faces “three main steps”:

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  • Collecting the specimen from the patient
  • Adequate protective equipment like masks and gloves to protect the health care worker from being infected
  • Testing the specimen in a laboratory, of which there is a shortage

“The challenge that we have in our community and across the United States is that we lack capacity and supplies at all three of those steps. We don’t have enough of those swabs. We have a low capacity for personal protective equipment. … We’re still building the capacity for laboratories,” Nettleton said in an informational video posted on the Kalamazoo County website.

He said the video is a response to “a lot questions about who gets tested” and that people frequently say “‘hey, we need to do more testing in our community.'”

Nettleton said both the state laboratory system and local healthcare institutions are trying to build new or increase capacity of existing testing facilities.


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