Shelby County ramping up COVID-19 testing

Shelby County ramping up COVID-19 testing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County leaders have announced plans to ramp up COVID-19 testing from hundreds a day to thousands a day.

While access to getting a test is much easier, getting your test results is still a problem.

The local hospitals and many of the testing sites send their samples to national labs, and there is a serious backlog right now.

LabCorp officials say they have performed more than half a million tests since March 5.

They're performing about 40,000 a day now. However, it can take two to four days to get results back.

American Esoteric Laboratories says it can get tests performed in 24-48 hours. But AEL is trying to resolve inconsistencies, or “false negatives,” where a patient has symptoms of COVID-19, but the test comes back negative.

AEL is also working to address capacity and supply chain issues, and Quest Diagnostics has processed 550,000 tests across the country.

Quest Diagnostics is now performing up to 35,000 a day, but the company has a backlog of 80,000 tests to perform.

Local health officials acknowledge this is a problem.

"We’ve heard of backlogs from the hundreds, up to about 1000, and that does pose a significant challenge for us. What is really the take away here is that if someone has been tested, they are just stayed isolation until those test results come back, and that will prevent spread within our community,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department.

The UT Health Science Center lab is processing the tests done at Tiger Lane.

The goal is to do about a thousand tests a day.

Right now, that lab is cranking out about 100.

At this point, 10,000 tests have been performed in Shelby County.

We have a population of more than 900,000.

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