High demand, shortages lead to delays in COVID-19 testing results

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Some people may experience longer wait times for COVID-19 test results. Before results, the wait to get tested at some facilities may take a long time too.

“My throat, the coughing, I was tired a lot.”

LaShondra Randolph began experiencing COVID like symptoms along with her three children last week.

“The two youngest children, they both had fevers,” she told NewsChannel 6. “My middle child, his fever got up to 103.4.”

So she loaded up the car last Friday and headed to the COVID testing site on 15th Street, run by East Central Public Health District on AU Health’s campus. Randolph said her family waited in line for an hour and a half.

“The test was quick and simple. And they told us that it would be 24 to 48 hours before we got our results,” she recalled.

But after 48 hours, Randolph and her kids didn’t know whether they were positive or negative. After making contact with the company, she received two messages, learning the delays were due to severe weather and equipment issues.

NewsChannel 6 checked in with the local health department to see about the delay.

“East Central Public Health District’s goal is to provide testing results within 24-72 hours time frame, however as demand for COVID19 testing has increased, unfortunately the turn around time for testing results has become slower.  We regret the current time frame delay and are working with our contactor to meet our COVID19 testing results goal time frame. 

We also checked in with Augusta University and University Hospital. A spokesperson from AU reports the hospital is seeing some delays due to high test volumes and staffing shortages. And University has a longer than average turnaround for results due to the volume of tests and supply chain shortages. Both hospitals only test their patients and not the general public.

Randolph is hoping to hear back soon about her COVID results since she’s already missed three days of work and her kids are now missing school.

“Technically I can go back to work, but still, two of my children are having the symptoms,” she said.

Local hospitals report delays will last probably until the demand for testing slows down.

You may want to check online for an at-home test because local stores are reporting they are in short supply.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps


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