Wilkes Health Department Director Rachel Willard said that at 12:30 p.m. today (Tuesday), she was aware of samples being taken from 16 people in Wilkes for coronavirus testing - nine at the Wilkes County Health Department and the others at private medical practices.
Willard said she didn’t know how many samples had been taken at Wake Forest Baptist-Wilkes Medical Center in North Wilkesboro. That information wasn't available from Wake Forest Health Systems.
Willard said that of the 19 she knew about, results had come back for five and all were negative.
“At this time, none of them (the 19) have had to be hospitalized to our knowledge. They are all at home self-isolating until the test results come back in,” said Willard.
“Once a person agrees to testing they are given instructions on self-isolation and sign the document stating they will abide by that,” she added.
“Due to testing volume, we are seeing a longer turnaround time than anticipated. However, as of yesterday the labs have increased manpower to help get test results out the door faster.”
Regarding turnaround time, Willard said, “We have been told 24-72 hours from the time they test the sample.”
She added about the process of taking samples at the Wilkes Health Department, “We do not have anything set up large scale like other hospital systems in the state.
“As a health department, we have made modifications to our protocols. We have asked anyone with a fever, cough, and respiratory like illness to not enter the building. They are to call and let us know they are here. They are then instructed where to go in our back parking lot,” said Willard.
“A nurse is then coming out and triaging and conducting flu test or COVID-19 test if they meet the criteria. It is not a drive-through clinic per say, but we have made it easier for those to get seen without exposing others to potential illness.”