I-TEAM: Taking A COVID test? Why you may have to wait longer for the results

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM just got action for a local woman left waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.

We investigated the delay and found the same thing happening to many other people.

If you take a COVID-19 test, you want the result right now.

But, Jennifer Jancik went for a drive-through COVID test and after a week, she and her boyfriend had not been told any results. So, she turned to the I-TEAM.

“You’re waiting. You want to know. Life changes for that brief window of time. You want to know, so you can get immediate care,” she said.

The I-TEAM contacted Care Alliance, a community health organization that that did the drive-through testing in Jennifer’s case.

We found Care Alliance doing a lot of testing, yet now, having a hard time getting lab results back quickly. And, the organization is also struggling to get those results out to the people wondering if they have COVID.

“Unfortunately, we’re at the mercy of the process of the labs to get these results,” Care Alliance President and CEO Dr. Claude Jones said.

Dr. Jones said people often now wait twice as long as before to get results.

Care Alliance oversees regular drive-through testing at Tri-C and other testing.

But Care Alliance has found testing labs are swamped. And, sometimes, the way those labs send back records also leads to delays before someone gets notified of a positive or negative test result.

“Right now, the delay is 5 to 7 days. That’s what we’re seeing on average. Sometimes it can be a little longer,” he said.

The Summit County Health Department told us if you have COVID symptoms and get tested, you should isolate until you get your results and if symptoms get worse, call your doctor.

Meantime, we asked Care Alliance about the delay in Jennifer’s case and the CEO quickly tracked down her results. They came back negative.

“I have to say, once you got involved, and also Care Alliance, once they realized my issue, they really did go above and beyond,” said Jennifer.

“We know people are concerned, so I’m willing to help anyone who’s not able to get their test results,” said Dr. Jones.

On Friday, Jennifer’s boyfriend also found out he had tested negative.

Many hospitals do their own testing and they get results back much more quickly. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic standard is 24 hours.

But, in general, as more and more people want to get tested, you may have to wait more to find out anything.

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