Surge of COVID-19 cases in US causes testing delays


Washington, Jul 14 (IANS): The recent surge in the number COVID-19 cases across the US has resulted in delays in processing and delivering test results, a leading American diagnostic service company said.

On Monday, Quest Diagnostics, one of the companies performing a significant amount of COVID-19 testing in the US, said the average time to get test results back is now "seven or more days" for everyone except the highest-priority patients, meaning people who are hospitalized or symptomatic health care workers, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Despite our rapid scaling up of capacity, soaring demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests across the US is slowing the time in which we can provide test results," the company said in a statement.

"We attribute this demand primarily to the rapid, continuing spread of COVID-19 infections across the nation but particularly in the South, Southwest and West regions of the country," it added.

The company is able to perform up to 125,000 molecular diagnostic tests a day, almost double its capacity two months ago, and expects to have the capacity for a 150,000 tests a day by the end of July.

"Despite that dramatic increase, demand for testing is increasing even faster. As a result, our average turnaround time for reporting test results is slightly more than one day for our priority 1 patients.

"However, our average turnaround time for all other populations is 7 or more days," said the company.

The development comes as the US currently accounts for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities at 3,363,056 and 135,605, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

  

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