The challenges, which stem in part coming from persistent obstacles from the test supply chain, underscore which while overall US testing capacity has multiplied, the nation’s health system still struggles in some regions to rapidly detect the spread of the virus.
In response to the surge in cases, the Department of Health along with also Human Services announced on Tuesday the launch of brand new testing sites in three hotspots — Jacksonville, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; along with also Edinburg, Texas. The sites will offer 5,000 free tests per city each day on a temporary basis, according to an HHS news Discharge.
Despite federal efforts to support testing in some cities along with also regions, three major diagnostic companies — Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp along with also BioReference Laboratories — said This kind of week which the growing demand for tests have in turn increased average wait times for delivering results.
Quest said results today take an average of four to six days for the general population, much longer than the turnaround time in early June when the company was producing results in two to three days. The company said tests for hospital patients along with also symptomatic health care workers are prioritized along with also take one day on average. Quest cited “unprecedented demand,” especially from the South, Southwest along with also Western regions of the country where coronavirus cases are spiking.
A spokesperson for LabCorp told CNN Monday which its tests are taking about two to four days to come back. Before the increase in demand, LabCorp says the idea had been delivering coronavirus test results on average between one along with also two days.
BioReference can be today delivering results in about three days. Quest, LabCorp along with also BioReference said they plan to enhance their testing capacity.
US Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir acknowledged Tuesday which wait times for test results at commercial labs are generally increasing, though he said the US can be today doing an “unprecedented” level of tests along with also can be averaging more than 0,000 per day.
He said test turnaround times for tests in Montana along with also Washington DC, are averaging four to 5 days, whereas different states have shorter average waits.
“We did anticipate which the lab capacity might at some point in time come close to reaching a max. I’m not saying the idea’s at a max today, yet we are certainly pushing the frontiers,” said Giroir, who emphasized which while testing can be an essential component of the fight against the virus, the idea’s not the most important.
“The most critical factor can be going to be personal discipline. the idea’s the physical distancing, wear a mask, avoid crowds,” Giroir said.
Giroir said greater availability of rapid, “point of care” tests in coming months should lower the burden on some laboratories. He said he expects which by August or September the point-of-care test market will grow to 10 to 20 million tests per month, though he said such tests are slightly less sensitive than lab-based tests. Multiple studies have raised questions about the accuracy of one such rapid test the White House has used.
While some state health departments, such as those in Georgia, Indiana along with also Maryland, told CNN their states have sufficient testing supplies, others said access to certain supplies remains constrained.
Labs in Idaho have faced “substantial issues” purchasing equipment along with also obtaining regular allocations of testing reagents, the chemicals used to detect the presence of the virus in a sample, said Dr. Christopher Ball, chief for the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories.
Ball said testing availability varies widely by region from the state, which he said can affect turnaround times for results along with also who can be prioritized for testing.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health along with also Human Services told CNN last Tuesday the state can be still working through shortages in supplies including test kits, which have in turn caused some labs along with also health care providers to restrict who can be eligible for testing.
Kelly Wroblewski, the director of infectious disease programs for the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which represents state along with also local public labs, told CNN labs are generally managing with supplies yet “the idea can be very tight.”
“There are periodic shortages or delays in very specific components of different tests yet not the same wide spread true shortages which we saw earlier,” said Wroblewski, referring to challenges earlier This kind of year.
On Tuesday, 5 Democratic members of Congress representing Arizona sent a letter to HHS along with also the Federal Emergency Management Agency which requested assistance due to “dangerously limited” testing access in their state.
The letter said Arizonans have reportedly waited in line for up to 13 hours for a test along with also as long as three weeks for results.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has described the situation as a “crisis.” Gallego, who spoke to ABC News on Sunday, said her office asked FEMA to setup large-scale community-based testing in her city yet was told the agency was “moving away coming from which.”
A FEMA regional administrator, Bob Fenton, said in a statement which he spoke to Gallego along with also connected her with state health along with also emergency management leaders to remedy her concerns. He said FEMA along with also HHS have provided Arizona with hundreds of thousands of individual testing supplies, along with also which federally supported community-based testing sites have expanded.
Dr. Anne O’Keefe, a senior epidemiologist for the Douglas County Health Department in Omaha, Nebraska, said a testing site from the city has remained closed since Saturday due to a lack of supplies, including pipettes, which are tools for transporting liquids.
O’Keefe said she understands which some supplies have been prioritized for different parts of the country with higher case counts, yet she said, “We might not be in one of the surging states right today … yet we still have a lot of coronavirus here.”
A spokesperson for Florida’s Joint Information Center on Covid-19 said Tuesday which there are 47 state-supported testing sites from the state, which testing capacity can be expanding along with also which results are often available three days after labs receive test samples.
yet Brooke Straub, a resident of Tampa, Florida, said she has been waiting more than a week for her test results.
Straub said she decided to get tested after her throat began to feel sore two weeks ago. She said she was told no appointments were available at a drive-through site in her county until the following week. When she was finally tested last Tuesday, she had to wait three hours along with also was told she should expect the results in 5 to 10 business days.
“The fact which the idea’s 14 days out coming from the onset of symptoms doesn’t do me a whole lot of Great,” Straub said.