Health officials seek quicker turnaround on COVID test results

The East Tennessee Regional Health Office has switched to a different COVID-19 testing vendor in order to provide quicker service, officials said.

Sherrie Montgomery, director for Hamblen and Jefferson county health departments, said AEGIS Science Corp., based in Nashville, will now be administering testing within the region for the novel coronavirus.

“Our region has not been using this service,” she said.

The change in testing occurred on Thursday. As more people have become tested, it has led to long delays in both positive and negative test result confirmations for those who have been tested.

The average wait time for results has been around seven to 10 days. Using ACS, the results are expected to be quicker.

She said the testing vendor has said the results would come back within 24 hours and a maximum of 48 hours. But, she said they would be hopeful if the results came in within two to four days.

“The point is rapid,” she said.

The testing vendor also promises a portal for those to be able to get results. If the person tests positive, that person will still get a call from the health department.

The delay in getting test results can be detrimental to the test takers who may be waiting for results while working or continuing daily activities.

“You can more expediently address a case that may need to isolate,” she said.