The only public lab in the Valley has tested close to 500 people for COVID-19

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CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KGPE) – As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase across the country, concerns about the availability of testing kits rise.

Tulare is home to the only public lab in the region that takes in testing kits. So far, they’ve tested close to 500 people in the Valley.

David Bacci, the vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, said with the number of kits available now, they have to prioritize certain groups.

“Nationally, we don’t have enough tests for everyone to be tested. And this isn’t just something that’s local to one hospital, it’s everywhere,” Bacci said.

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He said they’re prioritizing those who work in congregate settings, such as health care workers, and those who are older and have underlying health conditions.

“We’re trying to be really wise as we are going through and utilizing the tests that we have until a time in the future when we have more,” Bacci said.

Of the close to 500 people they tested, Tammie Weyker-Adkins with the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency said 355 tests were of people within Tulare County and 124 were of the surrounding counties.

While there may not be enough tests for every person who is showing symptoms, Bacci said there are precautions that everyone can take.

“What we’re seeing a lot of the counties and local officials say is if you have a cold, if you have the flu, assume that it could be COVID,” Bacci said.

He said even if it’s just a minor cough, it’s important to stay home.

“Those things that we’re hearing about such as social distancing, keeping 6 ft. apart from one another, staying home if you have any type of cold or flu symptoms, no matter how minor you think it is, those are critical at this moment,” Bacci said.

COVID-19 resource links:

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