State and local doctors are working on a quicker turnaround for COVID-19 tests


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – As the number of COVID-19 cases goes up in Hampton Roads and in many parts of the country, so has the wait time to get test results.

Velocity Urgent Care clinics are teaming up with people concerned about COVID-19. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tiffany Sibley said they’re seeing a thousand people wanting to get tested a day. 

“We understand how worried people can be and how this can affect their jobs; we are trying to get to everyone as much as we can,” Sibley said.

Sibley told that increased volume is taking a toll on the labs. Velocity uses LabCorp, which recently said the growing demand for tests has doubled wait times from about two days to about four days.

Dr. Parham Jaberi, Virginia Department of Health chief deputy commissioner of Public Health and Preparedness, believes that staffing issues in laboratories and material shortages are also contributing to longer wait times. 

He told 10 On Your Side, “When you have resources that are being used nationwide it would seem that a national strategy to better identify and delineate, where possible, would really help. Otherwise, we’re in a competition for resources.”

Jaberi said the state is working with private labs and contractors to build additional testing capacity and creating what the governor called a “one lab model

“Where we are able to prioritize those who need the test results ASAP — the uninsured, underinsured with symptoms, folks in long-term care facilities, public health outbreaks — that we ensure we don’t have a lag there.”

Jaberi said that will help the broader community. 

Meanwhile, Velocity has procured a new instant antigen testing solution that Sibley described as a potential game-changer for individuals. 

“We’re hoping to be able to have good news for our patients in three to four weeks. The test results do come back in 15 minutes, which is obviously a huge improvement over waiting several days for test results to come back.”

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