Influx of COVID testing leads to delays in getting results across Houston area

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the omicron variant continues to spread, some people are waiting in long lines to get tested. In some cases, there are delays in getting the results.

Curative, one of the companies operating several Houston testing sites, said the delay is because of the increase in demand for testing. Their average turnaround time in the Houston area is a little over two days right now, where typically the average is between one and two days.

Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest testing companies in the country, said its average turnaround time is two to three days right now.

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Davaco, the company that operates the city's mega testing site at Minute Maid Park, released a statement acknowledging the lag in people getting results:

"As the omicron variant continues to spread, we are seeing a significant increase in demand for COVID-19 testing across the city of Houston and our entire lab network. We appreciate the public's understanding that our associates and partners have also been impacted by this latest surge. Our lab is experiencing delays in results due to the influx of test volume. We understand this has caused notification delays. Due to this increase in demand, our lab is now working 24 hours a day. Going forward, we have put a plan in place to get all results out to those tested no later than 72 hours after their visit. For those that tested within the last five days, our lab is working as quickly as possible to process the test results. We appreciate the public's understanding as we all work together to remain informed and safe during this latest influx of COVID cases."

At Harris County Public Health testing sites, the average turnaround time is about two days. The associate director for the COVID division said they have experienced a three-fold increase in demand for testing from a month ago until now.

"We did expect to see an increase based on that, but then the perfect storm hit because then you had all of these folks who are now symptomatic. So they need to get tested, as well as all of the people who wanted to go to this event or this party or take this flight, and they all just kind of started meshing up," said Scott Jeansonne with Harris County Public Health.

If you are still waiting to get your test results back, according to doctors, the safest thing to do is assume you are COVID positive.

"When the test results are delayed you should assume and act as if you have the disease. That means that you are isolated from others and that means you are not going to work or school and basically that's what you have to do. Because if you are taking the test for exposure or symptoms, the safest thing to do is to make that assumption," said Dr. Luis Ostrosky with UT Health Houston and Memorial Hermann.

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