Woman waits nearly five weeks for COVID-19 test results, ADH responds

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Dept. of Health (ADH) said it has had trouble contacting some people after they’ve been tested. A Northwest Arkansas woman said the state has a responsibility to find a solution.

Janet Cherry was tested at the Fayetteville VA on June 27 along with several of her family members. She didn’t get her results back until nearly five weeks later.

“First of all, I thought it was nice of them to let me know,” Cherry said. “It was two days shy of five weeks.”

Janet Cherry waited nearly five weeks for results to the test she took nearly five weeks ago.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha works with the ADH, and she said long lag times are a common problem at this point.

“That’s really not helpful,” Dillaha said.

Dillaha said several things could cause a lag. A testing center could neglect to process a test. There could be a reporting delay, or there may be a problem with an ADH investigation. There are so many new cases that the department’s having trouble keeping up.

“It’s very possible that any one of those steps or a combination of the steps could’ve caused a delay,” Dillaha said.

The ADH is working on streamlining this process, Dillaha said, implementing electronic communication systems and implementing new procedures. There are steps people can take if they’re still waiting to hear back.

“They can call our hotline and ask for results,” Dillaha said. “Someone can probably look that up for them.”

Cherry said she wants to see these procedural changes soon because timing is key in this fight against the pandemic.

“The governor talks about, ‘Oh, we did x number of tests today,'” Cherry said. “That number doesn’t mean anything unless the test recipients get their results.”

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