Supply shortage prompts NC to limit coronavirus testing
North Carolina health officials signaled a change in how they will track the new coronavirus this week, as wait times for results from testing grew along with the number of positive cases across the state.
On Monday, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said her agency would move to a model to track the virus that relies less on testing and more on other surveillance techniques.
“As we move into this next phase of work, we will start to do tracking of the virus very much in the way that we track the flu every season,” Cohen said. “It is not about positive lab tests. Instead, our epidemiologist will create a new surveillance system going forward.”
The changes came days after state health officials announced that testing had confirmed North Carolina’s first case of community spread — a patient who had not been in contact with a known positive case or traveled to areas at high risk for the virus.
What testing public health departments do conduct will be largely limited to patients 65 and older, people with underlying health conditions, first responders and health care workers.
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