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Increased COVID-19 Testing Affecting Laboratories

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Every part of the COVID-19 testing process is being affected by the high demand for tests.

At-home tests and available PCR test appointments are often hard to find.

The laboratories where these tests are processed are busy as well, with the latest surge causing them to be the busiest they’ve been throughout the entire pandemic.

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The lab at OhioHealth is processing thousands of tests a day.

At OhioHealth, medical technologists determine if samples collected are positive for COVID-19 or not.

“It is a continuous process,” said Juanita Swickard, senior director of laboratory services at OhioHealth. “We run the lab 24/7.”

Swickard said the lab had been processing about 1,500 tests a day through most of the pandemic and is now doing 3,000.

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“They want to get tests out as quickly as possible, but done in the appropriate fashion,” she said.

As the nonstop work is going on inside the lab, tests are not easy to find outside the lab. Danielle Resseguie’s husband tested positive a few days ago and she hasn’t been able to find a test for her children.

“We don’t have any at-home tests left and I’m trying not to run into all of the stores to find them,” she said.

Swickard’s lab only processes PCR tests. She knows the demand from the public is high whether people are trying to schedule a test or are waiting for results. 

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“The manpower that it takes to get the specimen collected is equally as challenging as doing the tests per se in the laboratory,” Swickard said.

According to Swickard, OhioHealth can usually turn around its test results in about 24 hours.

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