COVID-19 test results taking longer than expected

Some labs overwhelmed with tests, Governor DeSantis calls for more rapid test kits

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Wait times were little to none at the Orange County Convention Center for those needing to be tested for coronavirus Monday, but many people are still waiting for their results after testing last week - a turnaround time longer than expected.

News 6 reporter Crystal Moyer caught up with Jack Sines, who was tested for COVID-19 at AdventHealth CentraCare in Winter Park. His results came back negative, but it took him 11 days to find that out. The website said he would hear back within seven days.

A CentraCare representative said with such a high demand, they can’t accurately predict when patients will get their test results. She said the time differs depending on where you’re tested.

If someone is admitted to an AdventHealth hospital and are showing symptoms, they have the equipment to test on-site and get results in a couple of hours. The samples taken at CentraCare are sent to third-party labs across the country and have different turnaround times.

Federally run testing sites are also seeing a backlog. Florida sites including the locations in Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando are being sent to a Quest Lab in Miramar.

“Ours are traveling the furthest to get to the lab, so it may play in to the turnaround time we’re seeing. The form we give patients says it will likely take three to five days. If they haven’t received a call after seven days, we advise them to contact their local health department,” said Lauren Luna, spokesperson for the State of Florida Orlando COVID-19 testing site.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced he is working with other private labs to deploy quick-response tests across the state.

"We finally have gotten a handful of these rapid tests. We're using them more for healthcare workers. We're also trying to get new tests from Advid labs, which is a five-minute result," said DeSantis. "As soon as we have the ability to get more rapid tests deployed, believe me, we are going to do it because I understand how frustrating it could be to get a test that gets sent off to a lab and it's waiting in line with 20,000 other samples and it takes time for it to go through."

To keep the virus from spreading, health officials advise people waiting for results or those showing symptoms to self-quarantine.

More tests have been ordered for the Orange County testing site, but no word yet when or if they’ll get those kits. For now, officials say they have enough kits to last them through Friday.

About the Author: