Sumary of Why does it still take so long to get Covid test results?:
- While Covid testing is much easier to come by than it was early in the pandemic, the ability to get a test — and timely results — can vary widely nationwide.
- A fragmented testing system, complicated logistics, technician burnout and squirrelly spikes in demand contribute to the bumpy ride.
- Unpredictable waits can be a problem for those trying to plan travel, return to school from quarantine — or even get lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatment within the optimal window if they do have Covid.
- The White House said this month that it plans to buy $1 billion worth of rapid antigen tests to help improve access to the hard-to-find over-the-counter kits.
- But people are also facing problems getting molecular testing, including the gold-standard PCR tests.
- But they are still bearing large testing loads, which she had expected to shift more to commercial or hospital-based labs by now.
- Testing labs of all stripes also face worker shortages just like restaurants, said Mara Aspinall, a co-founder of Arizona State University’s biomedical diagnostics program who also writes a weekly newsletter monitoring national testing capacity and serves on the board of a rapid testing company.
- For full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic“The staffing shortage is very, very real and holding people back from increasing capacity,” she said.