Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | testing | labs | testresults

Coronavirus Test Results Delayed as Labs Face Surge of Cases

antibody test
Taking blood from a person for a COVID-19 antibody test at a testing site on July 22, 2020 in Miami Lakes, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 July 2020 03:29 PM

As more Americans head to get tested for coronavirus, labs are inundated with tests and results are taking much longer to process, the New York Post reports.

Medical testing executives from two of the country’s largest clinical lab operators, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, say they can’t add testing capacity quick enough to keep up with the surge of coronavirus cases.

They say the number of tests they are processing is resulting in patients having to wait more than a week before they learn if they are actually infected with the virus.

“We need all states to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to better control the virus,” LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter said during a Tuesday appearance on CNBC’s 'Closing Bell.' “If we can do that, then we’ll be able to have the tests that we need.”

Both labs say they can get results for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in about one or two days.

But for patients not in a hospital, LabCorp is taking three to five days on average to return tests results to a patient, Schechter said.

LabCorp is capable of running 165,000 tests per day.

A Monday news release from Quest indicated a much longer turnaround time for patients to receive their test results. The company said it gets people their test results in more than seven days but the time frame can vary between a couple of days and two weeks. Quest said it can conduct 130,000 diagnostic tests daily.

“We would double our capacity tomorrow … but it’s not the labs that are the bottleneck,” Quest executive vice president James Davis told the Financial Times. “[It] is our ability to get physical machines and, more importantly, our ability to feed those machines with chemical reagents.”

Both lab companies say that the backlog could get even worse in the fall when the seasonal flu returns.

Davis told the Financial Times that Quest won’t be able to double its testing capacity before flu season hits and that “other solutions need to be found” aside from the nasal swab tests.

Schechter told CNBC he is worried about testing during flu season, too.

“I believe we have to be really thoughtful as we go into the fall," he said. "I am concerned about it."

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As more Americans head to get tested for coronavirus, labs are inundated with tests and results are taking much longer to process...
coronavirus, testing, labs, testresults
Wednesday, 22 July 2020 03:29 PM
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