TAMPA, Fla. — When it comes to coronavirus testing in Florida, and across the nation, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, sometimes too long. Testing sites can’t seem to keep up with the influx of people needing to be tested.
ABC Action News legal analyst Jeffrey Swartz is one of the many, awaiting test results, after being tested over a week ago.
Swartz said he’s had symptoms of the coronavirus for weeks. His doctor wrote him a prescription for the coronavirus test, and he took it to a BayCare testing site in Tampa.
That was eight days ago. He says by now, his symptoms are starting to clear up.
“For the first six or seven weeks of this year I had a terrible cough, intermittent fever, real weakness, it was pretty bad,” said Swartz.
Swartz said doctors dismissed his symptoms as some kind of untreatable virus at first, then the gastrointestinal problems started. So, his doctor wrote him a prescription to get tested for COVID-19.
“They take a swab, and they tell you to cover your mouth, lean back, and they stick that thing about as far as it can go. It is not a comfortable situation,” said Swartz.
Healthcare workers at BayCare told him he’d get a call with his results in three to five days.
“It’s now been eight days, nine days, I haven’t heard a word from anyone,” said Swartz.
In a statement from BayCare, where Swartz was tested, they said:
We collect the specimen from patients at our drive-thru testing sites and send them over to private laboratories for processing. Once the results are received, patients are being contacted. BayCare, like other health care providers, is aware that the demand for COVID-19 test processing has outstripped the commercial laboratories’ capacity. Like our patients, we have been disappointed to see wait times increasing daily, often to more than a week. We have been urging laboratories to increase capacity, which they are doing.
Swartz’s results have joined the ranks of so many others stuck in a backlog at private labs across the state, and the nation.
“My doctor has indicated that they have, as of yesterday, at least two patients who have been waiting 11 days. That’s just absurd. What good is the test?” asked Swartz.
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In a press conference Saturday, Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged the delay in getting test results, and says the state is working to alleviate it.
“Some of you may have seen last night the FDA approved Advent Laboratories 5-15 minute COVID-19 test,” said DeSantis.
Desantis said the company plans to produce 50,000 tests per day starting this week, and Florida is going to pay to get some of them.
Governor Desantis did not say when Florida would be getting those tests.