ST. LOUIS – Sunday the City of St. Louis Health Department released a statement saying health care providers are telling the city to expect delays in getting COVID-19 test results. The problem is centered on private commercial laboratories are experiencing delays in processing COVID-19 test.
The delay in results means local and state health departments will see numbers of persons tested, those infected, and those who test negatively skewed in results reported daily. Plus, patients tested will have to wait longer for test results. Thus, the data received by health departments may show surges or hot spots in cases when in fact delayed results may not be showing a complete picture of the viruses spread in the community-at-large.
Dr. Fredrick Echols, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis had this to say about the delay reporting results, “The number of positive test results and the total number of tests administered are key data points in the city’s decision-making process related to our response efforts for COVID-19. From a public health perspective our disease mitigation strategies rely on this information. From an economic perspective our phased-in approach to reopening the metropolitan area depends on the information. Test results are the key to understanding how widely the virus has spread, how it is currently spreading, and its severity.”