Key Updates from the Health Center COVID-19 Survey (Week #21): Community Health Centers Reported Improved Turn-Around Times for COVID-19 Viral Test Results as They Conducted Nearly 218,000 Tests

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

As the nation’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 180,000 and infections spiked in the Midwest, the latest Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) COVID-19 weekly survey summary shows that the number of COVID-19 viral tests conducted by health centers as of August 21st (217,586) was at its fourth-highest level since reporting on patient testing began, although this figure was about 34,000 lower than the previous week’s. Average turn-around times for COVID-19 viral test results continued to improve, as the share of responding health centers reporting waiting times of four or more days dropped from 39 percent as of August 14th to 32 percent as of the current reporting period. The share of health centers that reported average turn-around times of more than five days also dropped, from 14 percent as of August 14th to nine percent as of August 21st. Still, about a third (32 percent) of health centers reported average turn-around times that did not meet the Department of Health and Human Services acceptable standard of up to three days. Similarly, the share of look-alike health centers that reported average waiting times for COVID-19 viral test results of four days or more was 37 percent.

The data note is available here.

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