COVID-19 numbers being reported in Louisiana may fail to show true extent of virus’ spread, health official says

“I do worry our numbers are going to climb. ... We are not at the low numbers I would hope we would be at going into the holidays”

COVID numbers being reported in Louisiana may not show true extent of virus's spread

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — COVID-19 numbers being reported on the Louisiana Department of Health website may fail to show the true extent of the virus’s spread, according to one our region’s leading medical voices.

Dr. Martha Whyte says with the increase in antigen, or rapid, tests, some of those tests are not being reported at this time.

“They have added antigen tests to the LDH website now, the probable cases, but most of our care-of-point people are not reporting it," explained Whyte, the department’s health director for Northwest Louisiana.

"We are working on that, the rapid tests, because it’s something that they do in their office, like a pregnancy test. They don’t have an easy way to electronically report it. So if you look at those numbers, they are way lower than what we are. I know we are at least double what the day count is.”

And with the holidays quickly approaching, Whyte said she understands that many are missing their families and have pandemic fatigue. But if we want to avoid overwhelming hospitals and stopping the spread of the virus, she said, we have to take COVID-19 seriously.

“We still have people dying every day, a variety of ages. We had a 5-year-old from Monroe die. We had a 5-year-old in East Texas. We have had teenagers, elderly, middle age, every age range," she said.

"I do worry our numbers are going to climb. Where we are ahead of the holidays makes me even more nervous because we are not at the low numbers I would hope we would be at going into the holidays.”

With increased testing in our community, Whyte encourages everyone to get tested ahead of the holidays and to continue to wear a face mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.

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