Laboratories in the United States running coronavirus tests are getting more samples than they can process, said the American Clinical Laboratory Association on Tuesday.
“In light of the ongoing spread of Covid-19 in states across the country, many labs are now receiving more test orders than they are able to process in a single day,” ACLA President Julie Khani said in a statement.
“We have urged ordering providers to prioritize testing for those most in need, especially hospitalized and symptomatic patients.”
On Monday, Quest Diagnostics, a member of the ACLA, said some of its tests were taking seven days to turn around because of the demand.
Why this matters: Without quick testing, people cannot know whether they have the virus and take steps to avoid spreading it. Fast testing is central to contact tracing, the method that public health experts say is key to controlling the spread of the pandemic.
What they're doing about it: ACLA member labs are now working on new testing strategies and technologies to maximize their testing capacities, Khani said.
These labs collectively have performed over 20 million molecular tests for Covid-19 since the end of February, when the federal government cleared regulatory hurdles to expand testing.
Testing capacity has tripled since early April, and ACLA labs are performing more than 300,000 tests a day, Khani said.