▶️ Local clinics, patients frustrated by delays in COVID test results

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Family Choice Urgent Care in Bend is averaging 500 COVID-19 tests per week.

Throw in thousands more tests from around the region and tens of thousands statewide and labs are swamped with swabs.

“We are definitely doing a lot more testing now that supplies are available and that the lockdown orders have changed and people are getting out and about, people are getting more exposed,” Dr. Terri Mucha, medical director said. “Some people are actually getting symptoms, and others just want to travel and be safe.”

Mucha says to not expect an immediate diagnosis at most testing centers.

For samples collected before 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at Family Choice, results won’t be ready for 48 to 72 hours. Not including weekends.

Samples collected after 1 p.m. won’t leave for the lab until the next day, and weekend tests take a little longer due to limited transportation.

“Unfortunately most of us are constrained by the same thing and that is that there’s really no lab in Oregon doing the testing,” Mucha said. “And so we’re all reliant on airplanes that are flying the swabs out at night.”

According to Summit Medical Group, their current turnaround time for COVID-19 testing is 10 days. They say the wait time has increased due to the steep rise in testing volume.

Dr. Mucha says how soon patients get results depends on how fast a lab can get to the sample.

“It’s been super frustrating because none of us really have any control and it definitely is out of our hand,” she said.

Dr. Mucha says while the speed in which results come back isn’t ideal, the ability for patients to check the status of their sample online has been convenient.

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