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Some waiting 10 or more days to get COVID-19 results back from Pepsi Center site

"The entire idea of catching this killer is to do it fast."

DENVER, Colorado — Some Coloradans say they received test results from LabCorp 10 days after getting a nasal swab at the Pepsi Center, the state’s largest, free, community coronavirus testing site, despite being quoted times half that long.

LabCorp analyzes all tests administered at the Pepsi Center site in downtown Denver. It's a large, nationwide lab that acknowledges it's bogged down because of surging demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson told 9NEWS it's returning results on average in “three to five days from specimen pickup.” When asked why some in Denver are waiting twice as long, the spokesperson wrote that a “variety of factors can influence the time to provide results for an individual test, including the level of demand at the time the specimen was collected.”

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LabCorp would not say if Colorado’s average turnaround time was longer or shorter than the national average. The company has analyzed 7.5 million tests since the pandemic began and currently has the capacity to analyze 165,000 per day nationwide and is working to increase that as demand continues rising.

“I am appalled at what is happening right now in our state where tests are taking 7 to 12 days to come back because the entire idea of catching this killer is to do it fast,” said 9Health Medical Expert, Dr. Payal Kohli.

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Fast results lead to faster contact tracing, in which an infected person tells those they have been in contact with to quarantine. Every day that goes by without results is another day the virus can spread within that individual’s social web.

“The total incubation period of the virus is 14 days,” said Kohli. “So, if it takes that long for the test to come back that individual is no longer even infectious at that point, and on an individual level, that test becomes meaningless, as well.”

If you need a COVID-19 test, calling ahead to see which lab will be analyzing your sample could be beneficial. You may have better luck with getting quicker results if a test is analyzed in Colorado.

The University of Colorado Hospital, for instance, tests its samples in-house or with local partners. The hospital system says its turnaround time is about 72 hours. Of course, you or your insurance will have to pay for that one.

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