Key Updates from the Health Center COVID-19 Survey (Week #16): Two in Three Community Health Centers Experience Long Waits for COVID-19 Test Results, with Average Turn-Around Times Exceeding the Department of Health and Human Services Standard

By Jessica Sharac, James Hernandez, Maria Velasquez, Peter Shin, Feygele Jacobs

With four million coronavirus cases now recorded nationwide, and the highest number of hospitalized COVID19 patients since the pandemic began, the latest Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) COVID19 weekly survey summary shows that the number of COVID-19 viral tests conducted by health centers as of July 17th (231,535) was at its highest level since reporting on patient testing began, and had increased by nearly 5,300 since the week before. However, while the number of COVID-19 viral tests conducted by community health centers has increased, so has average turn-around time for COVID-19 viral test results. Two in three (66 percent) responding health centers reported average waiting times of four or more days, including 44 percent that reported average waiting times of more than five days. Only one in three (34 percent) reported average waiting times that met the Department of Health and Human Services acceptable standard of up to three days. Similarly, more than half (51 percent) of look-alike health centers reported average waiting times for test results of four days or more.

The data note is available here.

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