Testing

Tennessee’s Secret To Plentiful Coronavirus Testing? Picking Up The Tab

To reopen businesses and public spaces safely, experts say, states need to be testing and contact tracing on a massive scale. But only a handful of states are doing enough testing to stay on top of potential outbreaks, according to a state-by-state analysis published by NPR.

Among those, Tennessee stands out for its aggressive approach to testing. In Tennessee, anyone who wants a test can get one, and the state will pick up the tab. The guidance has evolved to “when in doubt, get a test,” and the state started paying for it in April.

It’s still rare for a community to encourage such broad symptom-free testing.

“In most places, you still need to show you have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to get a test,” research professor Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University said. “It’s really patchwork.”

Ample testing, preferably including people who are not symptomatic,

Read More

‘Last Responders’ Seek To Expand Postmortem COVID Testing In Unexplained Deaths

Examining dead bodies and probing for a cause of death is rarely seen as a heroic or glamorous job. Rather, as the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, all eyes have been on the medical workers and public health disease detectives fighting on the front lines ― and sometimes giving their lives — to bring the novel coronavirus under control.

But as the crusade to test for the coronavirus and trace cases continues, medical examiners and coroners play a vital — if often unsung ― role. These “last responders” are typically called on to investigate and determine the cause of deaths that are unexpected or unnatural, including deaths that occur at home.

In the early days of the outbreak, a scarcity of tests often hampered their efforts. Now, as that equipment gradually becomes more widely available, these professionals may be able to fill in answers about how people died and if those

Read More

As Deaths Mount, Coronavirus Testing Remains Wildly Inconsistent In Long-Term Care

Mary Lanham’s assisted living complex in Florida tested all residents for COVID-19 — once in March and again in April — even though no one showed symptoms.

The preventive measure put her daughter’s mind at ease, since testing can detect the invisible enemy before it sickens, kills and spreads.

“We’re all struggling with this virus right now,” said Paula Lanham Hahn, whose 80-year-old mom lives at Dayspring Senior Living in Hilliard, a town near the Georgia border. “I’m sure families would feel a lot better if the residents were being tested everywhere.”

But they’re not.

At a nursing home across town, residents were tested for the coronavirus only after cases broke out. At another nearby facility, residents haven’t been tested.

On Monday,  the White House recommended all nursing home residents and staff members be tested over the next two weeks. Testing thus far, though, has been arbitrary.

As the coronavirus

Read More

Trying Out LA’s New Coronavirus Testing Regime

Last week, after Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles was offering COVID-19 tests to all city and county residents, I decided to get one myself — and test Garcetti’s bold new promise in the bargain.

I was surprised how easily I was able to log on to L.A.’s testing website. I answered a few questions about myself, including whether I had any symptoms of the disease — the answer was no — and within three minutes, I had a same-day appointment at one of eight city-run testing sites.

In fact, it was a same-hour appointment. I rushed out of the house unshowered to drive across a large swath of the county to the site — a Los Angeles Fire Department training center next to Dodger Stadium.

The trip would easily take 90 minutes in non-pandemic times, but I got to the designated freeway off-ramp in under half an

Read More