Why Hoosiers may see delays in COVID-19 test results

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INDIANAPOLIS — As COVID-19 cases spike in other states, Hoosiers are finding it harder to get test results in a timely fashion.

“It’s now been 15 days, and I’ve never heard back,” explains Pamela Schramke who went to an Indianapolis CVS to get tested after a family friend she had spent time with tested positive for the virus. “I was wearing a mask when I saw them, but I didn’t know if there was a chance that something had happened.”

Schramke and her husband eventually fell ill for about two weeks, but a few days into it is when she got the test.

“This situation with CVS, I don’t understand it whatsoever, and at this point, I wonder if they lost my test,” questions Schramke.

In a statement, CVS says they send out their drive thru lab testing to third party locations. Due to the spikes in cases in other states like Florida and Texas, their lab partners are running into backlogs. Where Schramke was originally told the results would come back in 24 to 48 hours, CVS now says results should come in five to seven days.

“I started noticing other people saying, ‘It’s been a week, where are my results?’” details Schramke when she went on social media to look for CVS.

Locally, Aria Diagnostics on Indy’s northwest side is seeing 48-hour turnarounds for test results.

“If you’re not [giving results] within three days, you are going a disservice to the community,” says Aria Diagnostics Founder Zak Khan. “If there is a person working a job, and you don’t get it for three more days, then a 72-hour turnaround, then it takes six days. That is three more days that you were supposed to get paid.”

Khan and his team realized early in the testing process that test kits would be in high demand and low supply. To make sure they didn’t have issues keeping pace, the company started manufacturing test kits in a gym inside another company across the street from their testing headquarters. It took one week to get up and running, and now they supply not only their own testing, but ship out tens of thousands of kits to the rest of the country.

“This is just demanding so many solutions from an industry that normally doesn’t need to pivot, but we are learning to pivot quickly,” details Khan.

Inside the test kits are a nasal swab that Khan says are extremely hard to find. He must purchase them in enormously large quantities to be able to do so. Aria’s Founder says the trouble arose when a major swab manufacturer in Italy shut down right when demand for the swabs exploded around the world.

“It was the worst case of two storms colliding, and as a result we had to become very, very creative,” explains Khan.

Aria Diagnostics is now working with a partner to validate a new form of test that would allow people to be tested from their saliva instead of deep, and often uncomfortable, nasal swabs. Khan says the test could be administered at home instead of with a nurse, which would increase accessibility dramatically.

“If I tell them here’s a cup, spit in a cup with directions, that’s fantastic,” says Khan.

The company is no longer testing patients at their northwest headquarters. Instead, they have sprawled out to four area churches.

Northview Church Carmel
12900 Hazel Dell Parkway Carmel,IN
Mon-Thurs 10am- 3:30 F- Sat 10am-3pm

St Luke’s United Methodist
100 W 86th Street Indianapolis,IN 46260
Mon-Thurs 9am-7pm F- Sat 9am-3pm

St George Church
10748 E 116th St, Fishers, IN 46037
M-Thurs 10am- 3:30 F- Sat 10am-3pm

Zionsville United Methodist Church (ZUMC)
9644 Whitestown Rd, Zionsville, IN 46077
Mon-Thurs 10am- 3:30 F- Sat 10am-3pm

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