COVID-19 test at the Lincoln Trail District Health Department

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Recent trends show that COVID-19 testing is slightly declining as the vaccine becomes more available to the public, and doctors said a big reason for the dip in total tests is a level of complacency.

Clark County Indiana Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said there have been fewer Hoosiers showing up to get tested since about mid-December.

"When the vaccine rolled out, we started to see our testing rates drop a little bit," he said. "I think that was some complacency: 'Hey the vaccine is here. We don't have to be as worried.'"

Yazel said he believes that number will increase for a slight period due to people getting tested ahead of Super Bowl parties but will likely fall back down.

However, health care professionals are still urging that people get tested regularly. The vaccine has yet to reach a large percentage of the population, and testing helps slow the spread.

"We understand the general mindset, but we just want to encourage people that testing and contact tracing are still very important, because we're still in the real early stages in the vaccination process," Yazel said.

While most Kentucky and Indiana facilities have noticed a decline, Norton Healthcare Dr. Mary Rademaker said Norton's facility has seen a steady in COVID-19 testing.

“Right now, we have a very much more robust ability to test,” she said.

Rademaker said the steady number could be related to the testing Norton offers. Different from the Antigen rapid test, which has been said to be the least accurate of tests, Norton Healthcare offers a PCR rapid test, which doctors say is the most accurate.

Norton Healthcare has the ability to perform that test and get results back in the matter of minutes.

"That may be due to the availability of the point of care testing," Rademaker said. "People may be shifting the type of test they're looking for at this point."

As positivity rates go down in both Kentucky and Indiana, doctors said it's likely a mixture of less testing and less cases in general.

The decline in testing, while not everywhere at the moment, is on the horizon as more individuals receive the vaccine.

“The more people who become vaccinated, the closer we get to herd immunity, the less need for testing, the less people who get sick,” Rademaker said.

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