HEALTH

‘Why the wait?’ Patients across the country say COVID-19 test results taking a week or longer

Jul 13, 2020, 8:42 AM
Four more Utah COVID-19 deaths and 203 new cases since Friday...
Patients around the country say it’s taking a week or even longer to receive their COVID-19 test results. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Patients around the country say it’s taking a week or even longer to receive their COVID-19 test results. In the spring, it was typically only taking around three or four days to receive results. That has many asking, “Why the wait all of a sudden?” Well, according to Quest Diagnostics, it’s simply all about the numbers.

Why the wait?

“It’s volume and capacity,” explains Quest Diagnostics spokeswoman Kimberly Gorode. “We can run about 115,000 tests a day. … It’s not lab-specific. It’s a national issue. We are just trying to keep up.”

Health experts say the lag in turning results around will have serious consequences for patients.

“The problems mean patients and their physicians don’t have information necessary to know whether to change their behavior. Health experts advise people to act as if they have COVID-19 while waiting — meaning to self-quarantine and limit exposure to others. But they acknowledge that’s not realistic if people have to wait a week or more,” according to Kaiser Health News.

48-year-old Julie Hall of Chantilly, Virginia, got a test on June 27. She didn’t receive test results until July 3.

“It was awful and terrible because of the unknowns and not knowing if you exposed someone else,” she told Kaiser Health News. “Whenever you would sneeze, someone would say ‘COVID’ even though you feel completely fine.”

Kaiser Health News points out that patients in hospitals are typically still receiving their test results within one day. 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

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‘Why the wait?’ Patients across the country say COVID-19 test results taking a week or longer