PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — COVID-19 testing in Rhode Island is being impacted by a surge in cases in other states.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott acknowledged complaints about the increased wait times in getting results back.
The Target 12 Investigators have also received numerous calls and emails saying it can take up to eight days to receive results.
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Rhode Island resident Stephen Crawford says he was one of those people and had to “jump through hoops” to get his results.
He also claims the hospital couldn’t find them.
“I went through about three different people, and then I finally got a hold of this one lady that said, ‘that’s not our responsibility,'” Crawford recalled. “When back to the doctor, then it started: ‘no, you have to go there … no, you have to go there.'”
Crawford said his life was on pause as a result, since he needed a negative result for a planned vacation in Maine, as well as surgery. He said he believes he only got his results in four days because he kept calling.
“Please don’t misunderstand me, these folks are really overworked, I feel, so they got the results and they never actually gave me the results,” Crawford added. “I kept calling, and one day got through, waited 15 minutes and all of a sudden, a voice came on and said, ‘the department is closed for the day.'”
According to Dr. Alexander-Scott, the state’s laboratory, which doesn’t send tests out of state, is not experiencing delays, but private commercial labs have recently seen wait times increase.
Crawford said his wife is still waiting on her results.
“If I didn’t start when I started, if I waited until the day before, just assuming I was going to get that result in one day, that doesn’t happen in this state, he said. “It’s a crap-shoot here.”
In a statement to Eyewitness News, R.I. Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken reiterated that state laboratories have “a very fast turnaround time.”
“If someone does get tested, has symptoms, and is waiting for their results, they should isolate as though they are COVID-19 positive,” he continued. “This is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island.”