Why are COVID testing sites packed?

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(WETM) – There has been a greater demand for COVID testing in some areas but a decrease in others. Local health officials reveal that there are two main factors that correlate with the demand for testing.

When looking at two different counties across the border, the patterns between demand in COVID testing in correlation with other factors became apparent.

The first factor is the COVID positivity rate of an area, where we see a positive correlation in relation to testing demand. The higher the positivity rate, the higher the demand for testing.

According to local health officials: COVID ositivity rate and COVID tests administered have a positive correlation

In Steuben County, data shows a week snapshot from a month ago, compared to week’s data now, according to Steuben County public health director, Darlene Smith.

September 20th-26th: where 7000 tests were administered and the positivity rate was almost 11 percent

October 20th-26th: where 4000 tests administered and positivity rate is a little over 8 percent.

Steuben County COVID data: Slide to compare

“The urgent cares and the ED’s were literally overwhelmed…just seeking testing,” Smith said recalling September.

It seems obvious, but Smith states it best, “The more you test, the more positives you’re going to find… Now that fewer tests are being performed, our positivity rate is decreasing. Smith adds, “Also I believe a contributing factor to the decrease in our positivity rate it more and more people are vaccinated.”

This brings us to the second factor, the vaccination rate of an area, where we see a negative correlation in relation to testing demand. The higher the vaccination rate, the lower the demand for testing.

According to local health officials: COVID vaccination rate and COVID tests administered have a negative correlation

In Bradford County, there has, “Certainly there has been an increased volume of testing,” said Matthew Williams, Bradford County director of planning and public safety.

One of the lowest vaccination rates in the state of Pennsylvania is in Bradford County, at approximately 39 percent. Putting the county at the 63rd lowest vaccination rate out of 67 counties in the commonwealth.

“During the early summer when vaccination rates were widely available, our citizens for some reason… did not take advantage of them,” said Williams.

Here testing sites see increased traffic because rather than getting the vaccine, many will opt for a testing option instead.

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