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You are here News Health 'Pushing the frontiers': Long lines for COVID tests, stressed labs delay results as demand spikes

'Pushing the frontiers': Long lines for COVID tests, stressed labs delay results as demand spikes

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Covid-19 test shortage

America’s testing system is once again strained and labs are struggling to keep pace as coronavirus rages faster than ever in the South and West.

From Florida to California, large and small labs running 24/7 can’t process samples quickly enough from millions of Americans tested every week. That means COVID-19 test results are delayed a week or longer in hotspot communities, undercutting public health efforts to track, isolate and prevent spread.

The number of daily tests reached an all-time high of more than 719,000 on July 3 and averaged nearly 640,000 each day this past week, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Testing centers in Sunbelt cities such as Tallahassee, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona routinely attract long lines and at times must turn away people. Other than hospital patients, whom labs are prioritizing, delays are widespread in the South and West at drive-thru and walk-up testing centers, urgent care, doctor’s offices and government-supported testing sites.

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