SPOKANE, Wash. — Amber May began feeling ill after a trip to the United Kingdom this month. After her return home to Spokane, May’s healthcare provider ran tests for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Influenza A and other upper respiratory infections on March 17.
May said she was initially told it would take up to four days to receive her COVID-19 test results after they were sent to Quest Diagnostics. When she called her provider on Monday, a medical assistant told her that she probably would not receive them until April 1.
“It’s kind of frustrating,” May added.
Though May said she feels much better and hopes to return to work soon, she wants to know the results of her test for the sake of family members she traveled with who are still self-quarantined.
“So they’re not really able to go on with their lives either, with jobs and stuff, because they have to self-quarantine,” she added.
May said the medical assistant told her there was a testing backlog.
“I understand it’s a frustrating time and there’s a lot of tests coming at them, and maybe they weren’t prepared,” she said.
May is not the only Spokane County resident who is frustrated with testing delays. Multiple KREM viewers have reached out to us regarding delayed test results.
Kelli Hawkins with the Spokane Regional Health District said on Thursday that the sheer volume of tests could be contributing to delays in results, along with prioritization of testing for patients who are hospitalized, over the age of 60 or first responders.
She also addressed the sudden spike in positive cases in Spokane County, which she attributed to more tests being sent in.
Hawkins said increasing lab capabilities and locations remains a priority, and health officials are still telling people that they can expect test results in three to seven days.
A drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 at the Spokane County Fairgrounds is one of two in eastern Washington.
People do not need a doctor's referral to visit but they are encouraged to call their healthcare provider first if they are experiencing symptoms, said Kelli Hawkins with the Spokane Regional Health District.
People who are considered high-risk are among those who will be tested at the site if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
Meanwhile, May is concerned that her sample may not be viable anymore.
“I don’t want to share this virus with my family members or my co-workers,” she added.