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Central District Health seeing record COVID-19 testing demands to start 2022

CDH's Lindsay Haskell told KTVB they processed 700 to 800 tests per week in December. This week, CDH has processed over 4,000 COVID-19 tests.

BOISE, Idaho —

During crisis standards of care in Idaho, back in September, Central District Health (CDH), which oversees testing in Boise, Ada, Elmore, and Valley Counties, was seeing close to 1,000 tests coming in to be processed every week. Now, the number has more than quadrupled. 

"Right now, we have about 200 labs still to review from 2021 to determine if they are cases or not, and about 5,000 so far from 2022," said Lindsay Haskell, the communicable disease control manager with CDH. 

Haskell added that ninety percent of the tests that come in are positive and the majority of them are Omicron. 

With the rising number of tests being done, it is also taking longer for people to get their test results back. 

“When we start seeing so many people seeking testing and so many people with labs having to run, not only in our area but across the nation, the labs also have a backlog,” Haskell said. “Instead of having a test result within a day or two, it can be three to five days. Now, when we are looking at that period of time for people needing to isolate or quarantine, we are out of that by the time they are receiving test results.” 

Because of the backlog, CDH is having to prioritize phone call results, leaving more people to find their test results and information online. 

"It's been tough to keep up so we are making adjustments to our process to do the best we can to make sure we can stay on top; it is seeming a little insurmountable right now,” Haskell said.

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