Officials concerned COVID-19 surge, Thanksgiving causing strain on COVID tests

Officials concerned COVID-19 surge, Thanksgiving causing strain on COVID tests
Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 18, 2020

As coronavirus cases surge throughout the US, there is an apparent strain on labs conducting tests.

Quest Diagnostics said on Tuesday that it is processing 50% more tests per week than at the end of September. This has caused a slight delay in priority tests for high-risk patients and essential workers.

“We will continue to expand our physical capacity, with the addition of new testing instruments and related equipment,” Quest said. “We also intend to expand our lab referral partner program. And we will continue to strive to provide the fastest testing for priority patients, which includes those who are hospitalized, pre-surgical or receiving care in congregate settings, such as nursing homes.”

LabCorp says it is still processing coronavirus tests in one to two days. The company is conducting 210,000 coronavirus tests per day, but has the capacity to do 300,000 a day.

With Thanksgiving just a week away, there is concern that the holiday will cause increased testing demand. In addition, a number of states are requiring visitors to get tested upon entering the state.

"We are concerned about Thanksgiving," Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told ABC News. "In terms of post-Thanksgiving surges and testing, we really are going to create as many tests as possible, of as high quality as possible. Get them to as many people as possible."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he is concerned that the holiday in part is responsible for the surge in testing from people planning to travel this Thanksgiving.

“It’s pretty clear, based on those lines, that a lot of people are going to travel over the holidays,” Baker said. “And there’s not much, at this point, that we can do other than say we think that’s not a great idea.”