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Healthcare leaders discuss how additional COVID-19 testing could slow the spread of the virus

Posted at 7:46 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 20:46:39-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- The federal government is trying to secure 280 million rapid COVID-19 tests at a cost of about 2 billion dollars. The goal is to increase testing and local health care leaders say it could help in the effort to slow the spread of the virus.

As people continue to contract COVID-19 nationwide the federal government is trying to get its hands on hundreds of millions of COVID-19 tests. It's a move local healthcare leaders say could be of great help.

"When you start looking at schools or employers needing to do testing to limit the spread, twice a week (testing) can be very effective," says Prevea Health's CEO and President, Dr. Ashok Rai.

Doctor Rai says recent studies suggest more testing for the general public could slow the virus's spread.

"What we really need to do is get more rapid tests on a regular basis into different environments, into employers, into schools; if we're going to get better control over the pandemic," adds Dr. Rai.

Local testing sites continue to see an uptick in visitors and for those wanting to test themselves at home, the current supply at stores is limited and not stocked to the degree where regular testing is feasible.

"Is there availability in the supply chain to even implement that? I think that's the big unknown," adds Tyler Radke, a Laboratory Manager at Bellin Hospital.

Radke says if home testing kits were more available and even more affordable, odds are the country would discover more COVID-19 cases.

"The science is out there that increased frequency of testing is going to catch more cases and hopefully before people become truly symptomatic and truly infectious and able to spread it," adds Radke.

So, for now, the federal government will continue trying to get more tests out to the public so that the burden on our healthcare systems can be lightened a bit.

"That's what it's really about. Finding somebody whose positive, isolating them, preventing them from spreading it," adds Dr. Rai.

President Biden has called on Walmart and Amazon to start selling COVID-19 tests at a wholesale cost for the next three months. Right now, it's unclear as to whether the major retailers will do so.