Healthcare professionals are explaining why patients may have to wait several days for COVID-19 testing appointments or test results.
According to Dr. Julie Watson, Interim Chief Medical Officer for Integris Health, long waits are the result of the sheer number of people who need or want to get tested.
A priority system had to be put in place for COVID-19 testing at Integris.
Watson said patients who need hospitalization or immediate procedures are given priority.
While the hospitals work to make testing turnaround as quick as possible, Watson said testing capacity can become easily overwhelmed, resulting in a longer wait for results.
“People are becoming exposed more frequently,” Watson said. “They encounter someone that becomes positive. They are concerned that they need to be tested even though they may not have symptoms.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has attributed statewide delays to outdated technology.
According to the department, tests taken at urgent cares and retailers are sometimes sent out of state and, therefore, can take several days.
Watson recommends starting by talking to your doctor if you have questions about testing.
If you are symptomatic and are awaiting results, Watson recommends home quarantine under CDC guidelines.
“If you have to go out, wear your mask,” Watson said. “Limiting what you’re touching, limiting your physical closeness to other people is really essential while you’re awaiting those test results.”