COVID-19 testing demand up in Northwest Arkansas


Emergency Room technicians test patients for Covid-19 outside of the emergency entrance of Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Thursday, April 15, 2021. A doctor at Michigan’s largest hospital system says the spread of COVID-19 in suburban Detroit is like a “runaway train.” Beaumont has eight hospitals in southeastern Michigan. (Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press via AP)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more people in the state are needing to get tested for the virus.

University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Vice Chancellor of the Northwest Regional Campus, Dr. Pearl McElfish, said UAMS has seen a dramatic increase in people getting a COVID-19 test. Dr. McGowan with Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas also said he has seen an uptick.

“Absolutely, we’re seeing an increase in testing,” McGowan said.

Dr. McGowan said there are a couple of reasons for the testing increase.

“The Delta variant is more prevalent here and worldwide, and its the low vaccine rate in our community that’s different from others areas in the United States,” McGowan said.

Since the Delta variant is highly contagious, getting tested for COVID-19 is critical.

“With the spike in cases, it is imperative that people get tested if they have any symptoms related to COVID-19,” McElfish said.

As the demand for COVID-19 tests has grown recently, UAMS researchers looked at how to make testing more accessible. Dr. McElfish led a study that study found people preferred to get tested easily and close to home.

“Drive-thru locations whether it be at a clinic or at a community location are much more preferred,” Elfish said.

Researchers can look at the best locations to place testing sites to ensure equitable access by examining people’s preferences.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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