Health officials explain COVID testing shortage

Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 08:16:19-04

IDAHO — COVID-19 testing facilities across the country and in Idaho have seen a shortage in parts of the test process.

"Back in the day, you couldn't get swabs. So, a lot of times, I think when people hear we say that we were having a shortage of tests, people think that again. And that's highly unlikely," Crush the Curve Executive Director Tina Upson says.

The shortage comes from the supply chain. If one portion of the chain is missing, it slows down the overall process.

"I would say that the shortage of testing supplies is worsening. Supply chains that the laboratories we use are unstable. A lot of the national laboratories that are out of state are also at capacity," Medical Director for St. Lukes' health system Core Laboratory, Matthew Burtelow says.

There are three pieces to limiting factors when it comes to COVID-19 testing; supplies, lab capacity, and site administration.

"For example, if I'm using a big commercial lab and so is New York City, Houston and everything else, I'm going to feel that," Upson says.

Crush the Curve Idaho has noticed some longer wait time for test results over the last 2 to 3 weeks.

"I would say our results are probably delayed by 12 to 18 hours longer than we saw two weeks ago, three weeks ago," Upson says.

Health officials continue to urge everyone to keep wearing a mask, social distance, and stay home and self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19.