The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 1:00 am

Testing time troublesome locally

Many pending as private labs take 4-5 days


Prompt testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, remains a problem for Allen County residents, Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said Tuesday.

At a news conference with other Fort Wayne and county officials, McMahan said it's likely there are many cases awaiting confirmation, although only one new case was reported Tuesday.

“We have a lot pending,” she said of tests.

McMahan told The Journal Gazette samples tested by private labs are subject to longer testing times than the state laboratory, which generally has had turnaround times of one to two days.

Private lab times have been “inconsistent,” with some taking four or five days, she said. “But it seems so excruciatingly long.”

However, McMahan said she expects that situation to ease in the next two weeks as more private sites, including IU Health, ramp up.

McMahan said she did not know of any health care workers from Allen County who had tested positive for COVID-19, but she said it was not out of the realm of possibility that they had tested positive for other illnesses such as influenza or pneumonia and had not received a COVID-19 test or results.

About 2% of COVID-19 patients may be co-infected, McMahan said.

Area hospitals' supply of beds is holding up, she added. But work is under way to determine how to expand bed capacity if needed, McMahan said.

Residents with COVID-19 symptoms – which include a fever of 100 degrees of more, a cough and difficulty breathing – should contact their health care provider for information about testing and care instructions, health officials said.

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