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Kentucky, Indiana now have test kits for coronavirus

The states say they now have access to test kits.

There are still no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky. 

According to Dr. Steven Stack, the Kentucky Public Health Commissioner, three people in Kentucky have been tested. Dr. Stack said two came back negative. The third test is still awaiting results. 

"As the disease spreads, there will eventually likely be a case in Kentucky or perhaps multiple cases," Dr. Stack said over the phone Tuesday. 

That's why the state has worked ahead and now has the kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be able to test for the virus in within the state. The results will have a turnaround time of 24 hours. 

"Sometimes it'll be much quicker, but just depending on the time of day, the specimen is obtained and then shipped and then received," Dr. Stack said. 

Dr. Stack said he's not sure of the number of tests Kentucky has, but the tests are only at the state laboratory in Frankfort. 

"This disease was not even a consideration in humans until January when this broke across the world as an item. So they had to sequence the virus, they had to create sophisticated genetic as phase to test for the virus, and that capacity is generally only available at really sophisticated labs like the Centers for Disease Control," he said. 

The CDC is relying on the commercial industry to replicate the test and produce kits for hospital and other labs, Dr. Stack said. 

"The commercial vendors are hopefully hard at work at that and hopefully that capacity will become possible more widely throughout our communities so we can test more generously as needed," he said. 

The test used is a nasal swab. Dr. Stack said right now it is selectively performed on at-risk people who may have the virus. 

"Should the disease become more common, so think about the influenza virus which is common in the community, then you need to change your approach to testing, and test people more generously because now it becomes harder to know is it the coronavirus or is it the influenza or some other disease."

Dr. Stack said the department has tried to be transparent in its reporting, but knows the data and numbers can change for different reasons. 

"When we report data it may slightly go up or slightly go down. That's not confusion on our part, we're reporting it in real-time as we know it," he said.

Dr. Stack said this has caused some of Kentucky's data reporting to change as the department learns more information about a person, such as their actual state of residency. 

The Indiana State Department of Health said Tuesday it also has 900 test kits. 

The department Tuesday said "Healthcare providers collect samples from patients who meet the CDC criteria for testing and send those samples to ISDH, where testing occurs. The turnaround time for testing is typically within a day, depending on when the samples arrive at the ISDH lab. Any test that comes back positive at the ISDH lab will be considered a presumptive positive and the samples will be sent on to the CDC laboratory for further confirmation."


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►Contact reporter Tyler Emery at temery@WHAS11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@TylerWHAS11) and Facebook. 

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