PHOENIX — Several people who got tested in Phoenix for COVID-19 through an out-of-state lab are frustrated that they've waited more than two weeks to get results back.
Lab 24, based out of Miami, Florida, collected samples from 10,740 people at South Mountain Community College and Cesar Chavez Park testing sites from July 2 to August 8. The lab told patients the turnaround time could take up to 10 days.
Tena Dugan got her test on July 24 at the South Mountain site after one of her family members was diagnosed with cancer.
"I just kind of wanted to make sure, I didn't have symptoms or anything but I thought it's better to be safe than sorry," said Dugan. "As it started to get close to the 10 days, I started calling every morning, at 8 a.m. I would call this lab."
Dugan finally got a call back --18 days later-- saying her results were negative. The lab report shows her sample was collected July 24 but received on August 10.
"That just seems counter-productive to the whole objective of this testing process," said Dugan. She even quarantined herself to make sure she wasn't infected.
New data from AZDHS Thursday shows a lab that was severely backlogged reported numbers to the state, and case and test lag times jumped significantly. Graphs comparing case changes by week show a much larger group of cases were added to the end of July and August on August 13 compared to the graph on August 12.
Lab 24 sent ABC15 a statement clarifying that the lab can take up to 10 business days to process a test after it receives the sample in Miami.
Most laboratories have had great challenges handling the high demand for testing, and an even higher demand for timely results. We have been very transparent and realistic with all patients in regard to turnaround times for results. Our most consistent turnaround time has been within 7-10 business days of the day the sample gets to the lab. It has come to our attention that a patient who tested on July 24, received her results on August 10. Given that the sample was received at the lab on July 25, August 10 result was on the 10th day. We understand the importance of timely results during this unprecedented global pandemic, and we continue to work to better the service that we are providing to all communities.
We have a responsibility to report our data collected to each state per CDC guidelines. These reports are contingent upon us first having processed the tests and notifying patients of their results prior to uploading the data. Our data upload is in compliance with the CDC guidelines and with the state requirements.
We apologize to any patient who believes they are experiencing delays as we continue to process the thousands of samples that we have collected.
Another Lab 24 spokesperson said patients should receive an email from “email@example.com” with the subject “Covid-19 Real-Time PCR (attendee name).” The lab encourages patients to check their spam folder.
If you're having issues with your test results, the lab account manager recommends you call the customer service line at 800-641-0133.