Surge in COVID-19 cases cripples Alabama’s ability to deliver test results


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabamians are having a harder time getting their test results for COVID-19 after a recent surge in cases.

Recently, there has been a decrease in the percent of people who are testing positive, with that number falling from 16.7 percent to 15.7 percent. However, with the newer surge, the Alabama Department of Public Health is not able to get results to people with the two-to-three-day time window.

This period is crucial for decisions to be made about “quarantine and care decisions.”

“The ‘turnaround time,’ which is the time from when specimens are received in the laboratory to reporting of the results, is increasing due to a number of factors, including supply chain issues with test reagents, an overall increased demand for tests nationwide, and in some cases, increased numbers of unnecessary tests,” the ADPH explained in a statement.

Right now, the turnaround time is around seven days.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recognizes that this is too long and asks for consumers and physicians and other providers to help in making sure that those who are most vulnerable become the focus for testing: the elderly, those in congregate living settings, healthcare personnel, those with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and those with underlying medical conditions that place them most at risk,” the statement reads.

Right now, the ADPH is saying that requiring a negative test before an employee can come to work is not recommended. Instead, if a person tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19, they should just quarantine for 14 days.

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