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COVID-19 testing in Tyler, Marshall finds 8.8% positive rate

TYLER — A community COVID-19 testing event in Tyler last week found a total of 16 positive cases, but the impact of coronavirus in Lincoln County this month has been bigger. An additional 77 cases came in through the sample collection site at Avera Marshall, Avera representatives said.

A total of 409 people took part in one-day testing event at Avera Tyler on July 15. But between July 8 and July 17, there were also an additional 640 people tested at Avera Marshall.

“We saw a sharp rise in testing at the Avera Marshall collection site during this timeframe with a number of people coming in from the Lincoln County area,” said Avera Marshall Regional President and CEO Mary Maertens. “Holding an event in Tyler offered a convenient option for Lincoln County residents who were otherwise driving the 25 miles to Marshall for testing.”

Between the two testing sites, 93 people tested positive for COVID-19 over a 10-day period, for a positivity rate of 8.8%, Avera Marshall said.

“With an overall 8.8% positivity rate, the expanded availability of testing during this time was absolutely warranted,” said Dr. Steven Meister, chief medical officer at Avera Marshall. “We are grateful to individuals who participated in testing. By identifying people with the virus and asking them to isolate, we can help slow the spread.

The Tyler community testing event was organized after a spike in cases in Lincoln County, with connections to some large gatherings in the region. Of the 16 positive test results from the Tyler event, seven came from children between the ages of 11 and 17. Nine were from people ages 22 to 50. Six of the people who tested positive reported having no symptoms of the virus, Avera Marshall said.

“Individuals whose tests came back positive have been notified,” Meister said. “They have been asked to isolate themselves from others, and they’ve been asked to alert people they have been in contact with, including their employers.”

“We are grateful to all of the community partners and volunteers who stepped up to play a role in carrying out a testing event like this so quickly,” Maertens said. “All of the organizations and individuals involved came together to develop a well-organized, safe and efficient process for the good of our region.”

COVID-19 testing is still being offered in Marshall. People who are interested should call 1-877-AT-AVERA. Officials are also urging area residents to continue following safety measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“To protect our community, especially vulnerable populations who could be seriously impacted by the virus, it’s important for all of us to continue following basic virus control practices,” Meister said. “Stay home if you can, social distance, wear a mask while out in public, wash your hands, get tested and stay home if you feel sick.”

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