Health commissioner warns COVID-19 cases could go up following targeted testing

Coronavirus

FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey updated the state on targeted testing efforts, including nursing homes and prisons.  

Earlier this week Dr. Piercey announced just under 2,000 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tennessee. Testing for all Tennessee inmates and staff should be complete by early next week. 

This is in addition to plans to test all nursing home patients and staff, announced at the end of April.  

Dr. Piercey said prison COVID-19 positive results seem to be very low, however, she said we won’t have an exact idea of the extent of the virus until testing is complete. Dr. Piercey warned numbers may go up before they get better. 

“I want you to keep that in mind as you start to see cases come in that we expect to find these and we expect the numbers to go up because we are going out and looking for them,” Dr. Piercey said.  

 Thursday’s press briefing also discussed alternative healthcare sites being set up around the state, incase run out of capacity. However, it’s a resource state officials say they hope to not have to use. They continue to preach social distancing. 

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