City says Covid-19 test results taking longer than normal due to increased demand

Officials emphasize the importance of not gathering for the upcoming holidays
Officials emphasize the importance of not gathering for the upcoming holidays(KFVS)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:57 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The City of New Orleans says due to increased demand, it could take 4 to 5 days to get Covid-19 test results from New Orleans drive-thru sites.

Thanksgiving is 6 days away and will happen as the nation experiences yet another alarming surge in cases. Those getting tested before a holiday celebration may have to wait longer to get their results back. New Orleans Health Department Director, Jennifer Avegno, M.D., says the delay in the turn around time for results is because of what’s going on across the country.

“All kinds of testing sites nationally are overrun because again there is a huge surge nationally, that’s bigger than any of the other ones, so all of that effects what happens with our tests here,” said Avegno.

LSU Health Infectious Diseases specialist, Fred Lopez, M.D., says it’s critically important for people to realize the test is only as good as the day you took it.

“We know that people, depending on when they were exposed to the virus, may have a false negative, particularly shortly after being exposed to the virus, so, the only time you know you were negative was at the time that you took that test and it may have been a false negative because maybe you were exposed the day before and the test isn’t going to turn positive for several more days,” Lopez said.

Health officials are encouraging people to still get tested. But, they should also be vigilant about following safety protocols.

“We’ve have always said the test is not a substitute, a test is not your get out of jail free card, so, it shouldn’t change your behavior, so, if it takes 2 days, three days or four days, you should be doing the same things, you should be staying home, you should be wearing a mask, you should be keeping socially distanced, and so, that test is helpful for you to know because again so many of our infections are asymptomatic, but, just don’t put yourself in the position where you could infect yourself or someone you love,” said Avegno.

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