July 23, 2020 – The coronavirus is spreading faster in the United States than labs can expand their capacity to test more people, according to CNBC.
This, in turn, leads to a slower turnaround time of results. LabCorp processes around 165,000 COVID-19 tests per day and takes an average of 3 to 5 days to return the results to someone who is not in the hospital. At the end of March, the laboratories carried out around 20,000 tests per day.
“We continue to increase capacity every week to week,” Adam Schechter, CEO of LabCorp, told CNBC. Closing bell.
“The problem is that the number of tests that need to be done each week is increasing faster than the capacity we can build,” he said.
It takes 2 to 3 days to effectively track and trace contacts and inform people that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. An average of 3 to 5 days makes contact tracing less effective.
“We need all states to ensure that we are doing all we can to better control the virus,” he said. “If we can do that, then we can do the tests that we need.”
As people look to the fall, Schechter said the United States needs to be “really thoughtful” about the demand for COVID-19 testing. As students return to school and more people return to work, the demand for tests could overwhelm labs and further delay results.
“I’m concerned about this, but we have to look at it holistically,” he said.
Testing is part of a bigger picture, he added, including therapeutics, vaccine research and ongoing precautions such as social distancing and face masks.
“If we put these pieces together, I believe we can beat this virus and get the country back on track in a very meaningful way,” he said.
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