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Local health leaders explain key components of test-to-stay

COVID-19 test
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 21, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — For school districts that are considering it, a test-to-stay policy can be an effective way to avoid unnecessary student quarantines. But at Tuesday's Interim Local Government Committee, health department leaders told lawmakers that two things need to be done to make sure this program really works:

  1. universal masking
  2. daily testing

"The key components of test to stay - and what the science says - is that we have universal masking in the schools," explained Kentucky River District Health Department Director Scott Lockard. "That we're testing daily because that way you're finding which individuals, that would've had to quarantine normally, are testing positive."

Lockard says testing needs to be done daily because there is a 48-hour look-back window once someone tests positive for covid. That way, others who were around that student can be identified.

"If you're only testing every other day, you're going to miss people," said Lockard.

He says masks are needed because the delta variant is spreading so quickly.

"March of 2020 to the first week of August, we had 10,000 positive cases. Since the first week of August to last week - six weeks - I had 5,000 additional cases," said Lockard. "That's how much delta has kicked out butts."