Long testing lines signal toward increase in COVID-19 infections in Miami Valley

MIAMI VALLEY — Long lines at local COVID-19 testing locations are one of the signs that infections are on the rise in the Miami Valley.

Dr. Roberto Colón, Chief Medical Officer for Miami Valley Hospital, told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that Premier Health and other testing sites may need to open more hours of testing.

“What’s really driving the testing explosion now is the infections and the close contact testing,” Dr. Colón said.

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Rita Kelly, of Dayton, was one of many people who waited in line for up to an hour for a COVID-19 test on Friday. She said while she was vaccinated, she wanted to get tested after a potential exposure.

“I had a relative that tested for Covid and she had tested positive and I was with her Saturday, so my doctor just wanted to take precautions,” Kelly said.

Cases and hospitalizations have been increasing in recent weeks, mainly due to the Delta variant, which appears to be more contagious.

Dr. Colón said its not unexpected to see more COVID-19 variants popping up. This week, the World Health Organization announced they were keeping a close eye on a new variant, Mu, that was discovered on South Africa.

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“Anytime we see a new threat, it has to be reviewed. We just don’t know how much of a threat it is yet,” Dr. Colón said about the Mu variant.

With cases rising, Dr. Colón said the full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine has contributed to a small step up in vaccination levels and were effective against everything we have seen from the coronavirus.

“But the vaccines have absolutely maintained the ability to protect people from infection, but more importantly, from having severe manifestations from disease, either hospitalizations or deaths,” Dr. Colón said.

Data collected by the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association recently showed that 84 percent of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in local hospitals this past Wednesday were unvaccinated.

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