According to a recent report by KNWA, the CDC is recommending the Arkansas Department of Health to conduct serial testing at apartment complexes with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
The CDC recently completed its report on how Arkansas can better understand and prevent the spread of COVID-19 after a field team spent three weeks in Benton and Washington counties. Especially within Northwest Arkansas, the virus has been spreading at an increasing rate among Latinx and Marshallese communities.
Serial testing involves testing individuals at different points in time to be more likely to detect acute infections and repeat exposure. The report by KNWA said that the Arkansas Department of Health could determine a threshold for the apartment complex and test residents every five to seven days until the positivity rate is under that threshold.
The state of Arkansas has been targeting correctional facilities and nursing homes for initial testing, but officials have noted the need for retesting if there has been any additional exposure.
“You have people who have been exposed, they initially test negative, but that’s not the end of the story,” Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said at a press conference today (July 10). “In some cases where there’s high risk, you need to go back and test again. And there’s been some communities where there’s been so much transmission that people test negative, but then you got to go back and retest them five, six or seven days later because they may actually have been infected it was just too early to tell.”
When asked about considering the recommendations of serial testing, Smith said it is a “strategy that we will use as we are able.”
“Obviously right now with some constraints on supply chains and testing, we may not be able to fully implement that recommendation everywhere that it will be useful,” he said. “But, it is a valuable recommendation and there may be some situations where we may decide to do that in the community.”
Other recommendations from the CDC reported from KNWA included increasing the turn around for test results, prioritizing contact tracing in households with multiple residents and involving more bilingual staff to help with communication.