On Sunday, December 13, Salina Family Healthcare Center (SFHC) held a community-wide COVID-19 testing event. The event hosted at Bill Burke Park was open to the public, including those individuals with no current symptoms of COVID-19. The testing performed was a saliva-based PCR test, the type of confirmatory test used by health departments to verify COVID-19 infection.
Salina Family Healthcare Center collected 426 tests. The vast majority of testing has returned with a total of 37 positives out of 421 resulted tests. That calculates out to an 8.8% positivity rate for this presumably largely asymptomatic group.
SFHC reports that the current in-office positivity rate for those with symptoms has been running at 35-45% over the last several weeks. Dr. Robert Kraft, CEO and chief medical officer of SFHC explains, “It is expected that a symptomatic population would have a higher positivity rate for COVID-19. It is significant, though, that a sample of area residents attending a screening event would have an 8.8% positivity rate.”
Kraft continues, “That means a lot of people are walking around out there carrying the virus. This highlights the importance of masking and social distancing, especially when we are getting so close to having an effective and safe vaccine available to the general public.”
The state of Kansas continues to advocate for enhanced testing for its citizens through the holiday season by promoting free community testing events and an ad campaign asking Kansans to get tested.
Salina Family Healthcare Center is coordinating community testing this coming weekend with Salina Regional Health Center, which will host a free testing event at its Comcare location on Ohio Street from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 19. Based on testing supplies, SFHC will hold its free testing event on Sunday, December 20 at Bill Burke Park from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., or as supplies last.