Infectious Disease Expert Says Coronavirus Testing Not Widely Available in Nebraska

March 5, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ·


The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is growing. But what should you do if you suspect you may have been exposed to the virus?

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska outside of quarantine, and Nebraskans are much more likely to contract the flu or another respiratory virus.

However, if someone has risk factors like having travelled to another country with a lot of cases or having contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, then it would be reasonable to get tested for the coronavirus.

Mark Rupp is a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He said availability of testing is still expanding.

“It’s still relatively difficult for just folks to walk into a doctor’s office or a clinic to get tested," Rupp said. "Testing is still going through the public health services, through the local and state health departments.”

UNMC also has limited testing capabilities.

Rupp said testing is not sufficiently widely available, and likely won’t be until the test is available in commercial labs.

“This has been a real problem throughout the country, and is part of the reason why, you know, we’re concerned that there may be spread in communities that as of yet is undiscovered.”

Rupp advised the public to prepare for the possibility of school closings or the cancelling of public gatherings.