Delayed test results further complicate efforts to contain coronavirus

Eight days ago, Andre Feith and his wife were in a BayCare drive-thru testing line, wondering if they had the coronavirus. One a week later, they’re still waiting for results.

“Really not that much anxiety. I’m more concerned about a cough and cold and allergies I have and I’d like to see my doctor but I can’t until we get cleared,” Feith explained. 

Feith had been a cruise around the world that started in January. It ended abruptly on March 15. He and his wife decided to self-quarantine until they got the “all clear,” but like thousands of patients, they are waiting for their test results. 

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The shortage of COVID-19 tests is already a well-documented problem. Those who do get tests are told by health officials that the results could come back anywhere between five and eight days. But why such a delay?

Chris Tittel with the Manatee County Health Department says he’s been getting that question a lot.

Andre Feith and his wife had to end their cruise early.

“The simple answer is there’s just a high volume of test out there. The labs are just backed up; there’s a lot of tests out there,” Tittle said.

Currently, health officials say they are only able to test 30 samples a day. The FDA is working on a new testing procedure that would pick up the pace dramatically.

It may be available in the Tampa Bay Area by next week. 

So for now, Feith is doing his best to stay busy, but it’s hard to do with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over you.

“I try not to think about it which is very difficult not to think about,“ he added. 

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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