NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Now that some of the busiest COVID testing locations in Albuquerque are not testing asymptomatic people, are wait times and results getting any faster? Some locations are still seeing thousands of people a day get tested for COVID, so there’s been a bit of a backlog. Some people are waiting up to a week to get their results.
“When you go from 5,000 tests a day to 7,500 tests a day, you don’t have the supplies in that one day, so you do what we call put them in the Q… then you do 7,000 again the next day and the next day and you get a delay,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Gov. Lujan Grisham addressed the long wait times at a press conference Thursday. She says tests have even been driven to a lab in Denver to help. Among the many testing sites, the Department of Health locations is some of the busiest, running at a capacity of 2,700 tests a day.
The Department of Health says it currently takes three to four days from the time a test is taken for the results to come back. Presbyterian says Balloon Fiesta Park continues to be its busiest location. Their tests, along with the ones done by the University of NewMexico Hospital, are processed through Tricore. Their turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours for people with symptoms. If someone is asymptomatic they can expect their results in a minimum of 72 hours.
At Lovelace, they also say it takes up to 72 hours to get results. Dr. David Scrase with the Human Services Department says the state has a medical team exploring ways to expedite testing.
“Pooling, combining tests, antigen tests, coming to the market soon. None FDA approved just yet which ones that will be much easier, that would be the kind of thing that potentially would save a lot of equipment and time. They can be processed much faster. Saliva they’re getting very close on those studies,” said Dr. Scrase.
The governor says the state does have the capability of getting results back in 24 hours but may need to scale back how many tests are done each day to achieve that. People who are asymptomatic are encouraged to go to private partners who can do the additional screening.
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