Test Results: Delays create greater hazards in pandemic

Those infected with COVID-19 can recover — or, of course, experience life-threatening illness — within 10-14 days after becoming infected. What good, then, is a test for the disease if results are not obtainable for 10 days or more?

Not much, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday, adding “It’s almost like, well, why do the report?”

Delays in returning COVID-19 test results were part of the governor’s press conference Monday. Testing laboratories are the bottleneck.

But we know there are folks across the river in Ohio who are receiving results in as little as 48 hours, which perhaps gives them the chance to limit the number of others with whom they come in contact while contagious. Of course, we all should be practicing social distancing and taking the proper precautions; and those who feel the need to get tested should be self-quarantining, anyway, if possible.

Justice and state Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said efforts are being made to augment testing capacity. State officials are seeking more test processing equipment and qualified people to operate it.

Good. That needs to be made a crash campaign.

With the epidemic appearing to gain strength in West Virginia — even Doddridge County now has its first two cases; and West Virginia’s death rate increased by 6% over the past two weeks — expedited test results are truly a matter of life and death.


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