Arizona student describes "unacceptable" 26-day wait time for COVID-19 test results: "People are dying"

Arizona hopes for faster test results
Arizona hopes for faster test results 02:56

The average wait time for a non-priority patient receiving results on a coronavirus test in Arizona is now seven days, though some, like graduate student Elliot Truslow, are forced to wait nearly a month to hear whether they have the virus as cases balloon in the hard-hit state.

"People are dying," Truslow told CBS News' Mola Lenghi. "The availability of thousands of tests is insignificant without the availability of prompt test results."

Truslow, who studies at the University of Arizona, said they waited 26 days to get their COVID-19 test results. They were tested in mid-June at a local CVS Pharmacy after attending a Black Lives Matter rally. 

Truslow called the nearly month-long wait "unacceptable." 

Coronavirus numbers surged in Arizona after a brief dip in the rate of confirmed cases Monday. Tuesday saw 4,273 new cases reported, just over 3,500 hospitalizations and 92 deaths.

"In these extraordinary times, we need extraordinary solutions and we need to be able to do that quickly," Dr. Brian Koeneman, scientific medical director of Sonora Quest testing facility said. 

Sonora Quest is the state's largest testing facility, and handles nearly half of all of Arizona's coronavirus tests

"Our testing is up to about 6 to 7,000 tests a day," Koeneman said. "We are working on being able to increase… up to 30 to 50,000 tests per day." 

Health experts say the U.S. should be testing roughly 4 million people per day across all states to get the virus under control, more than five times as many Americans than are being tested currently. 

While Arizona is scrambling to build up its testing infrastructure to meet soaring demand, Koeneman admits the week-long wait time for results is a problem. 

"We want to get more testing available and that's what we're ramping up quickly to do," he said. "Eventually we're going to get down to within a 48 hour turnaround time"