Delayed COVID-19 test results at CVS due to increased demand

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 20:15:48-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - As COVID-19 cases continue to increase nationwide, the demand for testing grows.

CVS Pharmacy has been providing free drive-thru testing sites across San Diego County, but some have reported significant delays in receiving test results.

“I thought I would try CVS because they’re popping up all over for free testing and very convenient drive-thru,” said San Diego resident Michelle Naidenoff.

“It’s a self-administered test, had the test done, was given a sheet originally it said 2-4 days for results, and then they had crossed it out the time of the testing and said it could be up to 10 days.”

Ten days later, Naidenoff still had no answers.

“Then, on the 16th day, I called, and I was on hold a couple of times,” she said after being left on hold for too long, she hung up.

Five hours later, Naidenoff said her negative test result popped up on the online website.

“16 days, I’m thinking it’s basically useless,” she said. “When it comes to slowing the virus down, obviously contact tracing is very important. The fact that they would have such poor quality of care for follow up was alarming.”

According to CVS, all patient samples collected through the testing sites are sent to off-site locations.

The independent, third-party labs are then responsible for processing and delivering the results, according to CVS. CVS then communicates those results to patients.

In a statement to ABC 10News a spokesperson for CVS said in part:

The increase in cases of COVID-19 in certain areas of the country is causing extremely high demand for tests across the board. This has caused backlogs for our lab partners and is delaying their processing of patient samples. Currently, due to these factors, it may take 6-10 days for people to receive their results, and, in some instances, our lab partners may take even longer to return results.

Our lab partners are working hard to address this issue.

We are actively engaged in discussions with potential new lab partners that would expand our network of third-party labs in order to support our commitment to providing access to testing during this time of peak demand and beyond. -- CVS

“It’s creating a bottleneck with how many CVS places are popping up, yet they don’t have the infrastructure with the laboratory support to get the results back in a timely manner,” said Naidenoff.

“Until you’re able to deliver the results in a timely manner, you have the support of more labs, then stop popping up in more places.”