coronavirus illinois

Pritzker Explains Why Coronavirus Testing Results Are Taking Longer

Many states are having to rely on national laboratory companies, resulting in delays, Gov. Pritzker said

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With more and more Americans getting swabbed for the coronavirus, patients are having to wait up to two weeks — and in some cases even longer — to receive their test results.

And Illinois is no exception.

At a news conference Monday in Quincy, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker explained that national laboratories are dealing with an overwhelming number of tests as a result of huge spikes in cases like California, Florida and Texas.

One problem is, according to Pritzker, that many states have run out of lab space, so they've had to rely on national laboratory companies such as LabCorp.

Mike Geller, a spokesman for LabCorp, told NBC News the company has performed 7.5 million molecular tests for COVID-19 and is processing 165,000 tests a day, with plans to increase capacity further. As of July 24, the average time to deliver results is three to five days from when a specimen was picked up; before the surge, the turnaround time was one to two days, he said.

With three labs in Illinois and recent expansions, the governor says Illinois has increased its testing capacity as best as it could.

"I think at the beginning, we were doing 200 tests a day, we're now doing between six and 8,000 tests a day," Pritzker said. "We can't really get much bigger unless we're going to decide to buy new facilities."

The state of Illinois has also partnered with laboratory companies within the state, so results can come back faster than if results were being processed outside.

Despite progress statewide, Pritzker wants residents to remember Illinois is "still at the whim" of large national testing companies.

"I know that's more than you ask," he said in a news briefing Monday afternoon. "But I wanted you to get a full picture of why there might be a lag for some people."

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