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COVID-19 tests in Arkansas increases

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Those being tested for COVID-19 continues to rise.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With more testing for COVID-19 being done in the Natural State, the number of cases keeps going up.

Dr. Katie Selly, Assistant Laboratory Director at the Arkansas Department of Health, is one of the doctors who are processing coronavirus tests from across the state.

“Last week we got about 20 samples a day and like I said yesterday we received 164, so it has gone up tremendously in just a week,” Dr. Selly said.

She says their lab has the ability to process 1,000 tests for COVID-19.

“We want to make sure the most critical cases and the ones we are concerned about contacts are tested first,” she said.

Dr. Selly says the lab added a new instrument Thursday (March 19) that gives them the ability to look at even more tests.

“Our lab is still prepared and we are still testing,” she said. “We are still able to get reagents and we are looking into buying some more instrumentation that will keep us up and running, so we can keep testing within the state.”

The health department wants to remind people that not everyone gets tested for COVID-19. Many testing sites ask that you first call the hotline to be screened to see if you need to be tested before driving to one of the locations.

Medical Director for Immunizations and Outbreak response at ADH, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, says more clinics and hospitals across Arkansas are providing tests thanks to commercials labs.

“It depends on the clinics and hospitals in the area whether they are able to arrange with one of these labs to provide that testing and then how quickly they can get the testing materials that are needed to perform it,” Dr. Dillaha said.

In Oklahoma, they have partnered with Diagnostic Labs of Oklahoma to allow more testing capacity. They say on Thursday, 300 testing kits were sent to that lab in Dallas for completion. 

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