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Virus testing turnaround times reveal wide disparity

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Virus testing turnaround times reveal wide disparity

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Cameron Settles was swabbed for COVID-19 in mid-June at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando and it took him eight days to get the results.

“They originally told him that it would be five days,” said Jenna Settles, his wife. “Then when he went to log in, it said six days, then seven days. He eventually had to call and wait on hold for three or four hours to get his result.”

He was positive, and so his wife went to the convention center for her own test. It took four days to receive her results, and they were negative. The entire process, the couple said, was frustrating.

As coronavirus cases surge in hard-hit Florida, so do the turnaround times for test results.

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The reasons are many: Often it has to do with lab staffing, backlog, or equipment shortages. Some tests are done in house, while others are sent to overloaded labs out of state. Health experts say test results that come back after two or three days are nearly worthless, because by then the window for tracing the person’s contacts to prevent additional infections has essentially closed.

But there is one place in Central Florida where a group of people are being tested and getting results within a day: the NBA.

Basketball players, team staff, news media and anyone else inside the “bubble” at the practice compound at Walt Disney World are tested daily — and get their results within 15-18 hours on average. This rankles some in Central Florida, who wonder why local, state and federal leaders can’t coordinate large-scale, organized testing, but the NBA can.“It speaks […]

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