COLUMBUS Ohio For the first time researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center examined COVID-19 testing rates at the Columbus VA Health Care System (VCHS) over a two-year time window. Groupings of one test result and up to 17 samples were analyzed averaging 45 test samples per day. Researchers found an increase in test results at the 67th St. Medical Campus and a decrease in results at the 1st Ave.
N. Y. Medical Center in the city of Syracuse from a peak of 279 positive tests per day in mid-April to a low of 494 tests per day in late July.
There wasnt a bump said Dr. oncologist Andra Saines co-principal investigator of the study and a professor at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. But there are always changes.
To monitor any changes in the level of testing or expected levels over time an Atlas covered by the paper using demographic information from the VCHS was created. The Atlas available to researchers here shows test sites with tested COVID-19 patients and those who were tested in July.
Researchers planned to compare trends in 909 tests collected in 2018. For the study researchers studied the data from 1174 positive tests from Jan. 1 to Aug. 1.
After several weeks of post-record three-quarters or more positive tests were the most common among samples of those who tested positive for COVID-19.
With 909 tested tests a slight decrease was found in test rates for the group who tested positive in July down 2. 6 percentage points from the previous year.
With fewer than 900 tests collected which was the third-following most common prior to the beginning of the pandemic test rates declined by 2. 2 percentage points down from 3. 5 per 100 overall.
Even testing local labs and doing interviews with VCHS patients which was a rare event prior to the onset of the pandemic rates decreased by 3. 0 percentage points down from 5. 2 per 100 meaning the greatest rate of decline in that direction was observed among samples from the hospital system.
Its not a drop in testing rates said Dr. Saines who is also an associate dean for community medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Its just in time. Less testing means fewer sick and potentially more sick patients coming in and potentially a higher chance of infection.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic numbers of positive tests was similar across the system in early March and well before the first concrete manifestation in the Greater Columbus area.
The studys co-principal investigator Dr. Ellen Mederman from the University of Pittsburgh said only about 1 in 10 tests had been positive and that her team verified those cases because they had possibly isolated antibodies that could have triggered COVID-19 in those who had never before infected.
She said self-reported testing may have led some people to believe they were infected or to report symptoms such as fever pain and cough. That interaction the team believes would likely influence test results.
There is nothing to worry about said Mederman who is adjunct professor of population and community medicine at the university.