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Healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) administer tests at a Covid-19 drive-thru testing site in Tucson, Arizona on July 13. Cheney Orr/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Surging coronavirus cases across the United States are causing delays in getting test results from laboratories, according to Quest Diagnostics, a leading provider of diagnostic services.

“Soaring demand” for a Covid-19 molecular test is “slowing the time” the company can provide test results even after rapidly scaling up its capacity, Quest said Monday.

Increased capacity: The company has already doubled its testing capacity from two months ago, and now is able to perform 125,000 molecular diagnostic tests a day. By the end of the month, it expects to have the capacity for 150,000 tests a day.

Despite this increase in capacity, it’s taking up to a day to process test results for its priority patients: hospital patients, pre-operative patients in acute care settings and symptomatic healthcare workers. For all other cases, it’s taking on average seven or more days, said Quest in a press release.

The company is facing challenges in trying to ramp up testing: Global supply constraints are still an issue, the company said. 

The lab network is trying to add new technology platforms and is considering an expansion of its lab referral program.

But the company cautioned that it can’t reduce its turnaround time on testing results as long as Covid-19 cases continue spiking across the country.

“This is not just a Quest issue. The surge in Covid-19 cases affects the laboratory industry as a whole,” the company said.

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