Diagnostic testing labs around the country are warning that they may soon experience delays in processing COVID-19 tests as infection numbers surge around the country, Politico reported.
“The surge in demand for testing will mean that some members could reach or exceed their current testing capacities in the coming days,” Julie Khani, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, told Politico.
Methods used to conserve testing supplies, such as pooled testing, are becoming less feasible as positivity rates climb.
In the last week, the U.S. has conducted about 10 million COVID-19 tests, an increase of 12.5 percent over the previous week. Confirmed cases rose 40.8 percent, to more than 875,000, according to Politico.
Some labs have had orders for supplies like pipette tips canceled. Last month, HHS spent $33 million with a Swiss company that makes pipette tips, but the company told Politico it will take until next October to scale up monthly production to 40 million.
“Labs are doing everything they can to eke out whatever additional capacity they can, but they are limited by supplies, and in some cases, test kits. Some things have changed for the better; other things have not,” Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories told Politico.
Mr. Becker also said that the incoming administration of U.S President-elect Joe Biden will be limited in its ability to rapidly expand access to testing supplies, because “decisions have been made over the last 10 months that make turning this ship quickly a difficult task.”
Public health experts told Politico the CDC needs to educate the public about the limitations of different types of COVID-19 tests and that reducing unnecessary tests could help save supplies.
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