Large commercial laboratories in the United States report delays in returning Covid-19 test results when the pandemic crashes and fall numbers grow in parts of the country.
While the number of tests conducted in the United States is increasing, experts say that long turnaround times can make it difficult to isolate confirmed cases and quickly quarantine their close contacts.
Quest Diagnostics, a commercial lab, said this week that demand testing has reached “outstanding levels,”
While Quest can deliver results in one day for priority patients – including healthcare professionals and people in the hospital – the company said the average wait time is three to five days for most other patients.
“Demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing never reached previously-seen levels, which extends waiting times,” reads a Quest statement.
“In our media statement published on June 25, we announced that we are experiencing growing demand for our molecular diagnostic testing services COVID-19. We also announced that this demand is likely to extend average waiting times for reporting test results in the short term, “the company said. “Since this statement, we have continued to experience a growing demand for these services, with the latest daily orders exceeding capacity.”
That’s the latest information available from Quest, according to company spokeswoman Kimberly Gorode.
LabCorp now takes one to two days longer to report results, the company told CNN in a statement Saturday. The company’s current waiting time is on average two to four days.
“In recent weeks, we have seen a steady increase in demand for molecular testing and we are doing everything we can to continue to deliver results in a rapid manner while continuously increasing test capacity,” LabCorp said.