Study: National average wait time for Covid-19 test results is 4 days

63% of Covid-19 test results take 3 or more days
Study: National average wait time for Covid-19 test results is 4 days
Posted at 1:20 PM, Aug 03, 2020

A study published this week takes a look at just how quickly Covid-19 test results are getting back, on average.

Researchers surveyed more than 19,000 people across every state and the District of Columbia during the last two weeks of July. They asked how long people waited to get back test results.

Most people, about 63 percent, are not getting their test results back within the one-to-two day window that is optimal for contact tracing.

More than 30 percent of survey participants reported they received test results after four or more days.

“Rapid turnaround of testing for COVID-19 infection is essential to containing the pandemic. Ideally, test results would be available the same day. Our findings indicate that the United States is not currently performing testing with nearly enough speed,” researchers said in the report of their findings.

The average wait time nationwide was 4.1 days.

However, there were disparities in wait times when looking at race. According to the study, Covid-19 test results wait times for Hispanics and Blacks are longer, at 4.6 days and 5 days respectively. Compared to wait times for white respondents, which was 3.9 days according to the study.

Researchers said there is little sign the wait time for test results is speeding up. A similar survey conducted in April found that the national average wait time was 4.2 days.

This study did not look into the causes of the delay in receiving test results. Other reporting has pointed to limited testing supplies, labs being overwhelmed with tests to run, and the time needed to contact everyone with results.

On Monday, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis called some Covid-19 test results “useless” becausethey are taking too long to come back. He announced his state is converting two testing locations to 15-minute rapid testing locations.