ANDERSON — Local health officials are concerned that the delay in getting COVID-19 test results is exposing more people to the virus.
Stephenie Grimes, administrator with the Madison County Health Department, said as of Wednesday the county was waiting on test results from 53 people.
The delay in obtaining the results is causing the health department to not begin the process of determining how many people have been exposed to COVID-19.
“The official report, of positive test results, is entered into the database once daily by the Indiana State Department of Health,” Grimes said. “When this report is entered, we are already 2-3 days behind because test results are taking longer than expected.”
Dr. Stephen Wright, the Madison County health officer, said patients who are tested must self-quarantine until results are back.
He said that is posing questions for family members and contacts about self-quarantine until results are known.
“We field many calls from people and employers asking about self-quarantine, what it means to be tested and ‘assumed positive,’” Grimes said. “We talk through each situation and determine the best course of action, based upon CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines.
“The bottom line, if there is any question, self-quarantine,” she said.
Dr. Troy Abbott, chairman of the Madison County Board of Health, wondered how many additional people could be exposed by waiting the two or three days despite being under quarantine.
“The weather is getting warmer and the tested patients may start to wander Indiana,” Abbott said. “We continue to ask everyone to slow the spread and please stay at home so you are in compliance with Madison County directives.”
Of the 4,651 individuals tested in Indiana, 645 have tested positive.
Grimes said local officials anticipate the same ratio of individuals currently awaiting results.
The state is seeing approximately 14% of the people being tested as positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Through Thursday, Madison County had four confirmed positive tests; as of Monday there were 16 patients in isolation at the two Anderson hospitals.
Based on the state percentage, as many as seven people awaiting results could test positive for COVID-19 in Madison County.