FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- So far, Kansas and Missouri have no confirmed Coronavirus cases, but who is managing the COVID-19 test kits?
If you were thinking you could walk into a local Walgreens for a test kit, think again. Plus, if you think you do have coronavirus, it’s not a sure thing you’ll even be tested with one of the test kits.
On Thursday, KCTV5 News made multiple phone calls to health department agencies. Depending on which side of the state line you ask, you’ll get a different answer about testing.
“Yes. They just came today.”
“No. All the testing for COVID-19 is done through the state health department.”
“We have ordered some and hopefully they’ll be coming in any day.”
KCTV5’s Abigael Jaymes spoke to the health departments for Jackson County, Johnson County and Kansas City.
For Missouri, it appears they are getting test kits locally. However, they’re only allowed to have a maximum of five kits.
What she found out from making those phone calls is that larger cities get a total of five kits and smaller cities get a total of two kits. Each kit can only be used on one patient.
For Missouri, the Jackson County Health Department just got their five kits today.
The Kansas City Health Department said they’ll be receiving their five very soon.
For Kansas, local health departments are not getting their own testing kits because the state health department is handling them.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, they have “ample test kits for current demand in Kansas and can run up to 60 tests a day” if they need to.
One thing each health department KCTV5 spoke to stressed is that if you do think you have the virus, don’t go to the ER. That’s due to fear of spreading the virus.
Instead, your doctor will make the call on whether you will be tested using one of the test kits and will then notify the health department themselves.
KCTV5 has also been talking with a man who tested positive after a vacation on a cruise. He said he needs to test negative three days in a row, but he can’t seem to get there.
Carl Goldman tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago. He’s been in a containment unit at a Nebraska hospital after contracting the virus on the cruise.
However, his testing is a little more extreme that what we’ve previously mentioned.
“I signed up for a clinical study that isn’t going to help me but is hopefully going to help others,” he explained. “So, my testing is a little bit more elaborate.”
The actual testing that anyone would undergo isn’t all that different from testing for the flu. Goldman explains that doctors collect a specimen through a swab.
“I get tested with a swab of each nostril and deep down my throat,” he said. “They stick it down there for 10 seconds to get a sample. That’s then taken to a lab here on the premises of Nebraska Medicine.”
Health experts have said symptoms of the virus aren’t all that different from the common cold. In order for you to be tested for COVID-19, doctors will ask you the following questions.
“Those reasons include: Contact with someone you know does have it, or somebody who has traveled from a country or a region that could be considered a hot spot like China or Italy,” said University of Kansas Health System Chief Medical Officer Steven Stites.
For now, health departments are handling the test kits. However, Stites hope doctors can do it themselves soon. He said there are commercial kits that are being prepared and standardized to see if they are affective.
“In four to six weeks, we hope there will be commercially available tests that will allow medical centers like ours to run the tests here, so it shortens the time to get a diagnosis,” he said. “And, we hope there will be more testing kits available.”