County Surpassing Daily Testing Goal, But Patients Upset Over Delayed Results

Some San Diegans say they're waiting three times longer than expected for COVID-19 test results.

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San Diego County is regularly surpassing its daily COVID-19 testing goal of around 5,200 tests per day. Everyday in July, they’ve reported 7,000 to 8,000 tests. But many of those being tested are frustrated by how long it's taking to get their results.

Christy Cassisa, of Rancho Penasquitos, had mild COVID-19 symptoms when she said she decided to get tested.

“A bit of stomach upset, some chest tightness so the fear was definitely there,” said Cassisa.

She said the soonest she was able to get an appointment, by using the county’s online scheduling system, was five days out.

“Showing up that day it was not busy. They were very efficient. It was calm and it seemed like everything was running very smoothly,” Casissa remembered. She got a nasal swab test and was told it would take 48-72 hours, which according to the county is routine. Casissa said she was logging onto her online portal to check her results every day.

“By the time it got to the next week it had already been four days and I thought, ‘maybe they had lost my test,’” said Casissa. She said she couldn’t get answers from anyone online or via phone. Casissa said she could get as far as hearing a recording from the county.

“The voicemail said, ‘if you are waiting for your test results, you’ll get an email.' Click!”

Casissa eventually got the email she was waiting for. Thankfully, she tested negative for the virus.

NBC 7 reached out to the county for answers about the delay. A representative said some walk-up or drive-thru testing sites are operated by a contract lab, like Quest, to help keep up with the increased testing. Depending on the number of tests the lab conducts in a day, result times can differ. He also said the county is reviewing their testing sites and are looking at ways to maximize testing capacity.

Health officials advise those with symptoms to isolate themselves while waiting for those results, however long that might take. People who do not have symptoms should physical distance and use facial coverings.

Casissa said she was cautious, but the delay she experienced is troubling.

“The quicker we can get people tested and knowledgeable about what their positivity is, whether they’re carrying it, whether they’re spreading it, the quicker people can learn that the better it is for all of us,” said Casissa.

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