Delays in coronavirus test results causing frustration for residents and officials

State health officials respond to test result delays

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A state health officer calls the delay in COVID-19 test results from LabCorp and Quest unacceptable.

There's growing frustration about that turnaround time from both patients and healthcare officials.

A patient we spoke with, who did not want to be identified, tells us both she and her husband can't return to work until she gets her test results back.

She says she went to the Mahalia Jackson drive-thru testing site in New Orleans and has been waiting 11 days for her results.

“To mention a few of the challenges we’re facing now first is the turnaround time on the tests, what has been happening in the commercial labs, LabCorp and Quest, we feel is completely unacceptable to have a turnaround time of 7 or 8 days in this situation and that’s been well communicated,” Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said.

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng also voiced her disappointment saying results from both the New Orleans and Westwego drive-thru testing sites are delayed.

"We were told it was going to be a 3 to 5-day turnaround and we have honestly had difficulty in getting especially the first weekend results, so not this past weekend but the weekend before those are critical days because we prioritized health care workers and first responders and were not getting the results and were not getting the answers,” Sheng said.

Both LabCorp and Quest told Fox 8 they understand the frustration.

Quest says it's working as quickly as possible in a statement:

"While we are more confident now in our ability to meet demand and report results for COVID-19 testing than in mid-March when we were still ramping up capacity, this crisis is fluid and unpredictable, and so is the demand for COVID-19 testing. "

A LabCorp statement says:

“We are doing everything we can to improve these timeframes. We know there is more that needs to be done and we’re committed to doing our part during this emergency health crisis.”

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