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COVID-19 testing still limited in Lynchburg area as health officials look to expand contact tracing – Lynchburg News and Advance

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More than two months after the novel coronavirus spread to the Lynchburg area, testing capacity for COVID-19 still is limited, making it difficult to know the true extent of the pandemic’s impact on the region.

As of Friday, nearly 1.7% of people living in the Hill City and the surrounding counties have been tested for the disease, according to figures released by the Virginia Department of Health.

Health providers in the region largely are restricting tests to patients noticeably ill with COVID-19, meaning an unknown number of people with few or no symptoms are not being counted.

“We really don’t have a good understanding of infection rates because we’ve only been testing based on a limited number of symptoms,” said Haley Evans, the district epidemiologist for the Central Virginia Health District, which includes Lynchburg and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell.

To receive a test, residents must show certain symptoms associated with the disease or have previously come in close contact with someone infected by the virus, Evans said.

The current criteria for testing, while still restrictive, have been relaxed…



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