Testing companies warn of potential backlog as COVID-19 cases surge in parts of the US

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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Testing companies warn of potential backlog as COVID-19 cases surge in US

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- As COVID-19 cases surge in the US, laboratory testing companies, including North Carolina-based LabCorp, said their testing capacity is coming under strain.

Though companies were able to ramp up their ability to process COVID-19 tests in the last few months, ABC News reports that the surge in cases across the US has the potential to put strain on these labs as the demand for tests rises.

Tuesday, LabCorp said test results are taking, on average, one to two days longer than expected due to the increase in demand.

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"In recent weeks, we have seen a steady increase in demand for molecular testing and we are doing everything we can to continue delivering results in a timely manner while continually increasing testing capacity," LabCorp wrote in a statement.

In addition, Quest Diagnostics, based out of Secaucus, N.J., said it can currently proceeds 770,000 COVID-19 tests every week. However, the company told ABC News it has seen demand for test diagnoses grow 50% over the last three weeks.

In response to the surge, Quest said it hopes to process 150,000 tests every day.

"While we have the supplies to meet our current capacity target, we continue to work with our industry partners on platforms, reagent test kits and other supplies to ramp to our target capacity of 150,000 tests a day," the commercial lab told ABC News.

However, North Carolina health officials said other facilities, including hospital and university labs, are running low on the reagants needed to to run the COVID-19 tests. During a news conference Tuesday, Cohen said these shortages may cause a delay in sample processing and results, and asked for federal assistance to keep the process running smoothly.