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Florida’s coronavirus testing giants report backlogs on results

Investigations

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Waiting on coronavirus test results is leading to massive frustration across the Tampa Bay area. 

A Pinellas County woman who spoke with 8 On Your Side Tuesday reported waiting 18 days. She said Quest Diagnostics had processed her test.  

Now, we’re learning that a different testing giant is having similar problems.

“I’m 65 years old, I don’t want to mess with my health,” said Darlene Ellis. “I’ve had fever, I’ve had a headache. I haven’t been able to smell anything now for two weeks.”

Ellis says she had a COVID-19 test at a CVS in Tampa two weeks ago. Since then, she’s been going stir-crazy at home.

“I’ve signed up on MyChart to get my results as soon as they’re available,” said Ellis. “I check it 15 times a day, I still don’t have it.”

Ellis has seen 8 On Your Side reports exposing long wait times. Now we’re working to get her answers as well.

“It was just important for me at this point to voice my opinion and ask for help as well,” she said.

CVS is now actively researching her case. In a statement, the company tells us samples are sent to independent, third-party labs.

Due to backlogs, “it may take 6 to 10 days for people to receive their results and, in some instances…even longer.”

CVS calls this a time of “peak demand.” Right now, they’re talking to new potential lab partners to speed up turnaround times.

You’ve heard that before.

8 On Your Side told you on Tuesday how the state hired a new lab at the Raymond James Stadium site.

They stopped using testing giant Quest Diagnostics at that location to speed up the wait times.

Here is the statement from CVS:

“What I can tell you about testing results is patient samples collected at CVS Health’s COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites are sent offsite to independent, third-party labs who are responsible for processing and delivering the results, which we then communicate to patients.

The increase in cases of COVID-19 in certain areas of the country is causing extremely high demand for tests across the board. This has caused backlogs for our lab partners and is delaying their processing of patient samples. Currently, due to these factors, it may take 6-10 days for people to receive their results and, in some instances, our lab partners may take even longer to return results.  Our lab partners are working hard to address this issue.

We are actively engaged in discussions with potential new lab partners that would expand our network of third-party labs in order to support our commitment to providing access to testing during this time of peak demand and beyond.”


If you have a coronavirus tip or concern and you’d like to share your story, email investigator Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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