Testing backlogs reveal worries with lack of testing kit supplies

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – While testing sites have become more easily accessible, more individuals are noticing a delay in obtaining their COVID-19 testing results. Medical professionals advised News 2 that not only is there a backlog of testing timetables, but there is also a decrease in testing kit supplies. 

Three to five days—that’s what Dr. Robert Oliverio, a Chief Medical Officer with Roper St. Francis, said was the wait for testing results earlier this week. On Friday, they are now advising patients of a six-day wait.

It’s really a story of how many tests need to be done and how many supplies we have to do those tests and when demand outstrips supply, turn around time increases. 

Dr. Robert Oliverio, Chief Medical Officer – Ambulatory Care & Population Health. 

Dr. Oliverio said he would much rather see all testing be turned as quickly as possible, but noted there is a priority with some SARS CoV-2 tests. They prioritize patients coming into the hospitals, first responders, and the medical staff. He went on to say this is because they need to know whether or not they are positive to keep patients in the hospital safe and their teammates safe.

Trident Health System added that they too are worried about the availability of the reagent needed for future testing—but at this time, they are able to process test results in a timely fashion.

Our health system is doing testing in-house and some testing is being sent to MUSC. Our in-house testing turnaround time is 1 hour and MUSC is 12-24 hours. We aren’t utilizing LabCorp or other private labs so we can’t speak to any delays with test results for those companies.

Dr Lee Biggs, Chief Medical Officer for Trident Health System

As for if one test is better or faster than one another, Dr. Robert Oliverio explained that there are a lot of different ways to get the COVID-19 test done, and it does not affect how quickly test results come in.

Dr. Oliverio said what will help with both obtaining your results faster and understanding them better is to have an advocate in the medical system.

It’s not just ‘can I get a test’—it’s ‘where should I get a test, and who’s going to give me the results, and who’s going to help me interpret those results.’ So it’s always best so that you can have somebody guide you through the maze that is the health system, and usually that’s your primary care doctor. 

Dr. Robert Oliverio, Chief Medical Officer – Ambulatory Care & Population Health. 

Dr. Oliverio stressed that if you do come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, don’t get tested right away. He added that if you get tested too soon, you will receive a negative result as your body has not had time to process that the virus is present. He suggested to rather monitor your symptoms and quarantine yourself, and if symptoms do become present—go get tested.

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