Test result times can stretch out for weeks
Actually, results initially would have been reported back to the test participant in 1-3 days. Now, test results may take up to 2 weeks or longer due to the shortages. This essentially puts the individual at an increased risk for inappropriate measures of care, which in turn puts others at risk of contracting the virus. It has also discouraged many people from getting tested at all because of the possible two-week wait to obtain results, and then another length of time for self-quarantining (if one does end up testing positive).
Ironically enough, if it does take two weeks to hear the results the person has a good chance of not even having the disease anymore. Overall, the shortage of chemical testing components prevents individuals from necessary care plans and increases the risk of continuously spreading the disease.
What is being done?
Private lab companies continue to ramp up production in order to meet the recent demand in COVID-19 testing. Businesses are striving to maximize existing laboratory and employee copacity in order to boost testing production rates.
Another measure being taken to bridge the gap between supply and demand is healthcare providers carefully selecting which individuals to test. It is important to not waste testing supplies on individuals who are at low risk of being infected with the virus, while saving testing materials for patients who are at moderate to high risk. This will help the testing process be more relevant, effective, and efficient.
Lastly, but certainly not least, are the actions taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA recently issued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which may allow unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in an emergency to diagnose. Under this new guidance, laboratories certified to perform high complexity testing under CLIA were allowed to use their own COVID-19 lab developed tests after validating them but before receiving FDA authorization.