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'Overloaded The System': People Are Waiting Longer For Coronavirus Test Results Due To Increased Demand

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - With increased demand for testing, the wait times for results are increasing, too.

After getting tested because of an exposure at work, Wayne Jackson was told it would take three to five days.

"We've had such an increase in the influx of people wanting to get tested," says Rick Rickman, CRNP, of the AHN Mobile Testing Unit. "It's kind of overloaded the system."

At the Allegheny Health Network, results come back in three to five days.

"Even though we are saying three to five days, we are getting them much quicker than that," says Rickman. "We are calling the positives first. The negatives are getting sent back to the providers that ordered the test, and they are making the call."

At Lab Corp, it had been one to two days, but with the higher demand, it's now four to six days.

At MedExpress, the demand has pushed results to seven to 10 days.

Quest has a one day turnaround for hospitalized and preoperative patients and healthcare workers with symptoms, and a three to five day average for everyone else.

St. Clair Hospital can do a one-hour in-house test for patients in the hospital, but also sends some out to the Mayo Clinic, with an average wait time of two days.

UPMC can get results in a matter of hours for sick inpatients or healthcare workers, but usually expects a 12 to 48 hour wait.

While people are waiting for results, they and other members of their household must isolate.

"You want to confine yourself as much as possible to a specific room in the house," Rickman says, "We separate ourselves, we wear masks. You don't want to go to the store. You'll also want to monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms start to progress, you want to call your physician immediately."

"I can't go back to work until it's done," says Jackson, "But other than that, it's good."

Demand has gone up so much, some places are only testing people with symptoms now, so people needing tests to go back to work after a vacation exposure might have a harder time.

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