Surging coronavirus cases across the United States are causing delays in obtaining test results from the nation’s laboratories, according to Quest Diagnostics, a leading provider of diagnostic services.
“Soaring demand” for a Covid-19 molecular test is “slowing the time” the company can provide test results even after rapidly scaling up its capacity, Quest said Monday.
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 the month.
Despite the increase in testing capacity, Quest said in a statement it’s taking up to a day to process test results for its priority patients: hospital patients, pre-operative patients in acute care settings and symptomatic health care workers. In all other coronavirus test cases, it’s taking on average seven or more days.
“Specific drivers of demand include pre-operative patients undergoing procedures in hospitals and surgery centers; high-risk populations, such as those receiving care in federally qualified healthcare centers, nursing homes and correctional facilities; and individuals seeking testing from community drive/walk through events with government agencies and corporations.”
Quest said while it’s trying to ramp up Covid-19 testing even more than it already has, it is facing challenges.
“For instance, global supply constraints continue to be an issue. While our suppliers of test platforms and reagents continue to be responsive to our need to add capacity, they are limited amid surging demand in the United States and globally,” the company said.