coronavirus testing

State Labs Set to Help Offset COVID-19 Test Backlog

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“They said 30 min to 45 minutes,” Carmen Mendez said.

As a two-time COVID-19 patient Mendez knows test result wait time means all the difference.

“If you’re unsure just stay home,” Mendez said.

She came to the CVS Health Rapid result COVID-19 testing site in Hartford Wednesday to get proof she’s COVID-free within minutes.

“People in my situation we know that need to go back to work,” Mendez said.

But as the demand for COVID-19 tests continues in the south, southwest and western parts of the country, testing at Connecticut’s pharmacies, hospitals, walk-in and drive-up locations are seeing test result wait times in many cases of more than a week.

CVS Health telling NBC Connecticut, it may take six to 10 days for people to receive their results from its drive-thru testing sites. Quest Diagnostics says for non-priority one patients, the average turnaround time is seven or more days.

“When you’re not sure if we’re positive or negative it’s better to be cautious,” Mendez said.

The Connecticut Department of Health says it established partnerships with four laboratories in the state in order to create more capacity and to avoid the backlog faced by the large commercial labs who process their tests out of state.

The partners include Yale New Haven, Sema4, Jackson Labs and Genysis Labs.

Last week Quest Diagnostics got FDA approval for a technique that allows them to process multiple tests at once. The company says it hopes to be able to complete 150,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

“I need to go back to work so I need my results quick,” Mendez said.

As workers like Mendez look to get back to work, they face an increasing test result wait time if they choose a non-rapid test.

Quest Diagnostics told NBC Connecticut its demand has stabilized at a high rate since last week and CVS Health says they are now working with more third-party labs in order to keep up with demand.

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