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Gov. Ricketts talks delays in COVID test turnaround times

Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 19:09:01-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The governor wants the public to know there’s concerns over a slowdown in turnaround times.

Gov. Pete Ricketts says TestNebraska has seen a decrease in turnaround time for COVID tests, but not nearly as bad as some private companies. He says TestNebraska is taking about 3 1/2 days to get results while some companies like “Quest Diagnostics” that does tests for CVS and others can take more than 10 days, and as long as 2 weeks.

That could lead to people spreading the virus because they don’t know the results.

“It’s longer than we would like, we’re working to expand the capacity in the lab, we’re staffing up, we’ve got a team looking at how we can reduce the time further. So we are looking at ways to be able to reduce that time but it’s still much better than some of those other venues,” Gov. Ricketts explained.

Dr. Peter Iwen with the Nebraska Public Health Lab says a number of reasons are at play. More people are requesting tests, how long it’s taking to get a sample to the lab, and most laboratories have chemical shortages so they can only analyze a certain amount of tests.

Health experts say if you show any symptoms and get tested you should quarantine until you receive the results.