How long it takes for people to get the result of their COVID-19 test is really alarming. Some patient have gone for test and up to two weeks still haven’t gotten their result back and this is disappointing for everyone not just patients but even the ordinary citizen. The COVID-19 test results delay is as dangerous as the disease itself.
This would be the case of a New Yorker Aaron Week who had gotten tested for more than 14 days but still never got his result making him question the essence of the test anyway as the disease as been labelled lethal to the human health, then one might wonder if those reports are true or not considering how long it takes for a result to be out.
In the case of Aaron Weeks, he got tested after he had come into close contact with someone who had the COVID-19 disease but despite not feeling sick, the disease is reported that it can still be spread by asymptomatic patients to others which is why Weeks took the brave move to get tested.
But the question then come as why do people have to wait for two weeks just to get the result the disease which puts their own health at risk as well as those around them. With that, they might continue to unknowingly spread the disease or would they just self-isolate without even knowing how long they wold do that since the result is taking too long to arrive.
“It’s very difficult for people to be responsible — especially younger people — when it takes 14 days-plus to get their test results,” Weeks said.
The time-frame of getting results is at an alarming rate in the US and this is becoming a problem since the beginning of the pandemic. Another case which looked similar to Weeks was that of Elliot Truslow from Arizona who waited nearly a month before getting the result which then turned out to be negative.
“No one wants to wait 26 days for a test result for a highly infectious deadly disease. No one wants to experience that,” Truslow said.
According to Dr. Brett Giroir who is the assistant secretary of the health and human services for health as well as overseer of the COVID-19 testing told reporter that “We want results back as fast as possible.”
The man also made it known that there have been scenarios whereby people had to wait for 12 days for results. In his words he said “We can’t deny that that happens”
Giroir said a “reasonable turnaround time” for test results — from the time tests are ordered to the time the results are in — would be three days.
And there have been reports that stated that the slightest delay can cause an irreversible spread of the disease according to The Lancet Public Health which also made it’s own publication on the study.
The study was based on computer models of how the virus spreads.
“In our model, minimizing testing delays had the largest impact on reducing transmission of the virus,” said a co-author of the study, Dr. Marc Bonten, a professor at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. And this is even in the best case scenario.
As for contact tracing, the process requires the tracking of every single individual that a COVID-19 patient had contact with in order to get them tested as well as self-isolate so as to not spread the disease more but considering the current situation of things in the US, the issue of contact tracing has been nearly impossible.
While there have been protests and some people back to work in a country with hundreds of millions of people, this process had been really difficult to achieve.
But then we have the another big hurdle to cross which is the delay in getting test results. The pandemic had caused the loss of lives and damaged economies throughout the US and all over the world. One of the biggest flaws in how the disease had been handled in the country is how tests are being carried out.
“We don’t have nearly enough tests,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. “The delays in the current testing system render much of the testing we’re doing right now relatively ineffective for actually controlling the pandemic.”
Although the CDC had reported that about 45 million tests had been completed since the outbreak in the US. But then a Thursday report by the Rockefeller Foundation states that the country will need to be able to increase test by 30 million each week.
According to the foundation which states the country faces an “impending disaster” and that some US$75 billion needs to be allocated to ensure tests are “free and accessible to all who needs them” within the country which would include those in low-income communities and minority communities hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation said it’s critical to speed testing in advance of a looming flu season.
“There will be 100 million cases of the sniffles,” Shah said. “If everybody believes that that’s COVID-19, it’s going to strangle our economy, shut down our critical institutions and introduce so much fear and crisis into the American system of government, education, health services and food services that it will be a disaster that looks much worse than what we experienced in the spring.”
The foundation also said it’s committing $100 million to the cause.
Meanwhile those patients hospitalized with suspected cases of the Covid-19 disease generally get a faster result and test which basically might show the level of priorities in the treatment of the disease for patients. Meanwhile it’s worth noting that those on the street needs to be tested as fast as possible too in order to keep others from getting the disease which can in turn led to a more increase in the number of patients being brought to the hospital.
“However, our average turnaround time for all other populations is seven or more days,” Kim Gorode, a spokesperson for Quest Diagnostics, wrote in an email. The company blames the lag time on recent dramatic increases in demand for testing across the country.
According to the Rockefeller Foundation, the body also stated that the country needs to invest more in new diagnostic test called the Antigen testing. While this route might be less accurate than the current test method, it’s less expensive and could be more useful for those who have to wait in turn despite having no symptoms just like Weeks.
“These new antigen tests can give the results within 15 or 20 minutes,” Shah said. They’re “fast, low-cost, somewhat less sensitive but much more practical to use very broadly.”
“America needs to have nearly 30 million tests a week by the fall in order to avert a catastrophe,” he added.
As the U.S. continues to try to ramp up testing, Giroir pleaded with Americans to do their part.
“Please wear a mask in public. Avoid public gatherings of greater than 10 or 25,” he said. “The way to fix the testing problem is by fixing the virus problem.”