“It felt like we were walking into an automatic, constant backlog,” Loren Dealy Mahler said.
Connecticut has now hit over 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. And with rates on the rise – more than 30,000 Connecticut residents per day are seeking to get tested. That means waiting even longer to get results.
“They said it will be anywhere between two and five days to get your results,” Dealy Mahler said.
But it was closer to five than two.
“And then it took forever. It was the strangest feeling of not knowing when your results were going to come in,” she added.
Dealy Mahler, her husband and her 6-year-old daughter all had symptoms so they went and got tested on Sunday. Dealy Mahler got her test results back Wednesday morning, but her daughters didn’t come back until Friday.
“She basically has missed an entire week and we’ve all been stuck here in our house because we were trying to be responsible and trying to do the right thing and it really just brought everything to a screeching halt for an entire week,” she said.
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The entire family tested negative.
“I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the results. I didn’t get the results until today,” Audrey Kramer of Branford said.
Kramer got tested last Sunday too and didn’t get the results until Friday.
“I was a little stressed out. Not that I thought anything. I feel fine and it had been five days. It’s not like I had any symptoms. But it’s a little stressful waiting for a test.”
It’s taking longer to get back test results as more people get tested.
“It used to be two to three days. Now as COVID comes in the next wave it’s five to seven days,” Dr. Bob Russo, interim executive director of the Connecticut State Medical Society said.
More people are getting tested which means longer waits for a test and results.
“Now I’m a physician that’s head of 4,000 physicians in the state of Connecticut. I made eight calls to be able to make an appointment to get that test. And I couldn’t get the test for two days because it’s all jammed up,” Russo said.
Testing is a good defense against COVID-19, but it’s not foolproof according to UConn Virologist Paulo Verardi.
And “that’s assuming that the tests are 100% correct which is not always the case,” he added.
Also it seems that the faster tests are also not as accurate.
“The better kinds of tests take a little bit longer, they’re more predictive of your status, but again because of that your status might have changed through the time,” Verardi said.
State officials said they expect results to improve after the holidays, but the current average for state-contracted testing sites is 72 hours and they are seeing the same for private testing facilities.