Dallas public COVID-19 test sites slow to deliver results

The increase in people tested for COVID-19 in North Texas has brought about an unintended negative consequence -- a backlog at the labs testing samples and a delay in people getting test results.

The backlogs are now happening nationwide, especially in states seeing surges in coronavirus, and are not specific to one testing site or one laboratory.

Locally, people who went to public testing sites at the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Fieldhouse are experiencing test result waits of nearly two weeks.

Barbara Dillard-Anderson was told she'd get a call in three to seven days about her test results from June 25. It's been twelve days with no results.

“The reason I got tested is because my goddaughter tested positive for coronavirus and there were other family members, two have died and several others who had contracted corona. So I wanted to know, because I have a family and then if I’m asymptomatic, I would be passing it on to someone else,’ Dillard-Anderson.

Her wait is not unusual, health officials said.

“We are seeing a delay in some of these test results coming back and it relates to the number of tests that are necessary and being performed,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, Dallas County Medical Society.

Beyond the increase in testing is the lab's ability to turn those tests around. People tested at the two public sites have those tests sent out of state to federally supported labs. Other private labs are lagging behind also, trying to meet the demand of increased testing.

“You hear the same catch phase. It’s frustrating, but its supply chain, supply chain, supply chain. Sometimes these delays are sending to the lab out, sometimes it’s the re-agents that are needed to run the test and the platform, sometimes it’s just hey what’s our supply of the nasal swabs,” Casanova said.

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The city of Dallas said in a statement, “…we continue to work with our federal partners to expedite processing of samples as quickly as possible.”

Dillard Anderson has self-quarantined since testing 12 days ago.

“It leaves you kind of in a dilemma, where you just don't know what to do,” Dillard-Anderson said.

Though she has no symptoms, she wants to know what her test shows.

“I don't know, I could be asymptomatic. That’s the other issue,” Dillard-Anderson said.

People who were tested more than seven days ago and have not received results can email the city for a status update at DallasCBTSresults@dallascityhall.com.

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