Rush on drive-through COVID-19 tests has subsided, Sentara Williamsburg official says


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Less than 24 hours after Sentara Healthcare said coronavirus swab tests were running out — forcing Sentara to stop distributing the test at 2 p.m. Wednesday — a new supply showed up and they were back in business by 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

The tests were distributed at the Sentara Princess Anne Hospital and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. They were not distributed on Thursday at the Chesapeake Edinburgh site.

The problem was, at Sentara Williamsburg there were fewer people coming to get tests. The long lines from Wednesday were gone.

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Culp said announcing they were running low on coronavirus tests Wednesday didn’t help.

“I think media has distributed fairly well the message we are short as a country of the tests and the swab supplies, and people are aware in the community,” he said.

A second reason is that the mad rush to get the test has subsided.

“I think the first initial concern was dealt with in two and three days of testing,” Culp said. “I think the community will have a new stable state of exposure and testing and demand for services, and I think we are seeing that start today… not the crush of volume like we were seeing Monday and Tuesday.”

A real concern is the slow response from the labs returning results on the coronavirus tests, which we have been told can take up to six days.

“Please take the CDC and Department of Health guidelines seriously. For a majority of our community, the greatest risk is not that you are going to get sick and die, but it is you are potentially going to pass it to someone who is (going to get sick and die),” Culp added.

James City County is the hotbed area for coronavirus and now has the most active positive cases in Virginia. As of 4 p.m. Thursday there are 14 cases in James City County. Williamsburg and York County each have one case.

So, why are there so many in the James City County-Williamsburg area?

“Williamsburg is a somewhat affluent community. Retirees who travel a lot live here, and that probably is why we saw earlier cases because of the travel pattern for our patients, and I think we will see this throughout the country and throughout the next weeks and months,” Culp said.

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