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What's the wait time for COVID-19 test results in Spokane? It depends on where you go

The turnaround time for test results in Spokane County ranges anywhere from several days to a week, according to multiple health care systems.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Wait times for COVID-19 test results are increasing nationwide, including in Spokane County. 

Dr. Bob Lutz, who serves as health officer for Spokane County, said on Monday results for some patients are coming back as long as 10 days after they have been tested.

“That’s unacceptable, but it’s also to be expected," he added.

Generally, people with the following new symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are eligible for testing.

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

OR at least two of the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

People who have been informed that they were in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 or who work in a high-risk environment are also encouraged to be assessed for testing.

KREM reached out to health care systems throughout the Spokane area for information about the average turnaround time of tests at their clinics. Here's what they said. 

RELATED: Free curbside coronavirus test sites open in Spokane beginning Tuesday

Providence Health Care

Jennifer Semenza, a spokesperon for Providence, said she was unable to comment on turnaround times on backlogs because the process is owned by LabCorp, a company based in North Carolina.

“The national labs, such as LabCorps and Quest, is where we are seeing the greatest delay in turnaround time," Lutz said on Friday.

"To Providence's credit, they're looking for other resources, other means to which they can get testing done in a more expedient fashion," he added. 


The turnaround time for test results at MultiCare clinics range from same-day to three days, spokesperson Kevin Maloney said. 

MultiCare has a contract with the University of Washington's laboratory in Seattle, Lutz said. 

Kaiser Permanente

While response times may vary, Kaiser Permanente clinics generally have test results within 48 hours, spokesperson Angela Matson said.

Only current Kaiser Permanente members and patients can access its testing sites. 


A spokesperson for CHAS did not respond to KREM's request for comment about the turnaround time on COVID-19 testing. 

CHAS clinics do not require insurance.

Lutz said CHAS works with Quest Diagnostics, a clinic laboratory based in New Jersey. Quest is one of the facilities where health officials are seeing a greater delay in testing results, he added. 

Rite Aid

Rite Aid is utilizing self-swab nasal tests overseen by pharmacists. All adults, even those without symptoms of coronavirus, are eligible for testing and can preregister online to schedule a time for testing. 

A spokesperson for Rite Aid said the turnaround time for test results is two to seven days. 

How accurate is rapid testing?

Providence ExpressCare located at 9027 N. Indian Trail Rd. in Spokane has launched a pilot program for rapid COVID-19 testing of those at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The rapid test is available to health care workers, first responders and high-risk patients by appointment only. It is not available to the general public. 

Providence ExpressCare can deliver a positive test result in as little as five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes using the Abbott ID-NOW COVID-19 test.  

RELATED: Providence offers rapid COVID-19 testing for medical workers, high-risk patients

But just how accurate is rapid testing? Lutz said it's "not ideal," adding that viral testing by PCR remains the "gold standard."

“Right now, you’re looking at some of these different testing strategies being less than 50% accurate," Lutz said.

"And so, in general, if we see a positive test, we say it’s probably good and we accept it positive. If we see a negative test, it’s a coin toss as to exactly what that means. And so a negative test does not mean that you are not infected," he added. 

Lutz emphasized that it is essential for people who are tested for coronavirus to presume they have a positive case until proven otherwise and self-isolate.  

Find a full list of testing sites in Spokane County here

RELATED: Gatherings are 'driving' COVID-19 curve in Spokane County, health officer says

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