Positive COVID-19 test rate decreases as state reopens

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Since the beginning of May, The positive test rate for coronavirus in West Virginia has went from almost 3% to less than 2% as the state reopens.

On May 1, the positive test rate was 2.45%. On the 4th, when Gov. Jim Justice lifted the 'stay-at-home' order, it dropped to 2.26%, and on the 15th, 2.03%.

On May 18, the positive test rate is at 1.97%.

"I think it's largely due to the restrictions and guidelines that the government has put out, social distancing, people staying at home," says Romeo Tan, an administrator at Mon Health who oversees several testing sites.

Tan says the peak for positive test results was in April. Since then, there's been a shift in correlation between patients tested and positive results.

"I noticed a huge difference in traffic when the rules started to come out. At the beginning we had a lot of people come in for testing, so that probably contributed to the high positive rate with the amount of people being tested," says Tan, "and now that people have been tested, they're staying at home, staying away. They don't feel the need to get tested or they've already been tested."

Now, the majority of patients being tested by Mon Health are not ones with viral distress.

"We started testing pre-op patients so we have seen an uptake in that, but the amount of symptomatic patients we've seen coming through have actually gone down," adds Tan.

Health officials warn to not take these statistics as a cue to decrease personal safety habits.

"I think at some point we may see a second wave. I'm hoping not. But I think at some point we have to reopen and just be cautious," says Misha Tate, director of lab services at Mon Health.

The Mon Health testing sites will be open indefinitely.