In Kern County, more than 1,200 people are still waiting for their coronavirus test results, according to Public Health.
When testing first became available, the promise was that results would take 24 to 72 hours.
However, there have been several reports of people waiting a week or longer, with no results in sight.
That was the case with Leah Little, a 55-year-old breast cancer survivor. She had traveled to London in early March for two weeks.
“When I got back to Bakersfield, I had a migraine, a sore throat, dry cough, and I’d been tired all week,” Little recalled.
Her friend Kathy Lane also developed symptoms after spending time with her.
The two are both in high-risk categories.
They decided to get tested for coronavirus on Marth 18th, the first day Accelerated Urgent Care offered it.
After the promised 72 hours, they still had not received results.
“So we waited to call on Friday, then they said another two days. Then we called on Monday, and they said another few days. Then we called every day, and they kept saying that,” Little said.
Finally, after 13 days, they finally got their results.
They, fortunately, both tested negative, but they’re still frustrated.
“My anxiety is through the roof because I don’t understand why they’ve made us wait so long,” Lane said. “What’s the point in taking the test?”
In 13 days, they have not left the house once, not even to the park or to get groceries, out of extra caution.
They worry that others who are waiting for results won’t do the same as they did.
“What if someone doesn’t take it seriously and is out spreading it, they’re not self-isolating? It’s a little worrisome, you know?” Little said.
While Accelerated Urgent Care has been offering the tests, Quest Diagnostics is the lab processing the results.
“Unfortunately, the early testers were kind of the guinea pigs getting the system working,” said Accelerated Urgent Care co-owner, Dr. Daniel Erickson. “The initial batch we got was 7-10 days, and we said, this is unacceptable.”
But he explained, “this hit harder than what (Quest) anticipated. If, for instance, you’re planning on testing 10,000 people a day, and 100,000 a day show up, you can’t perform at the level you want to.”
But there may be improvements coming soon.
“Now Quest has said we fixed our systems,” Dr. Erickson said. “As of this week, we should be able to test and get results within three days. This is what Quest is telling us. I hope they deliver on that.”
Through limbo and through quarantine, Leah and Kathy are grateful to have been together.
Leah laughs, “we’ve done some cooking, some exercising, I’m making her do lunges—she’s going to be bikini ready!”