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Health leaders say when a COVID-19 test backlog occurs, those who test positive are already aware

COVID Testing
Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 16:20:01-05

WACO, TX — On Wednesday, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported 440 estimated active COVID-19 cases. The health district said 301 of those cases were backlogged from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4.

It's hard to predict when a backlog of cases occurs.

"It could be any number of bureaucratic reasons," said Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

What is important is that those getting tested are informed before the health district.

"The main priority is that the people get tested, they get their results first so they know, and they can immediately take action," Craine said.

So when the health district released Wednesday's numbers, the 301 backlogged cases were already aware they were positive and should have been quarantined.

Backlogging could be more common when third party testing facilities are added to the mix. When clinics and other facilities conduct tests that need a lab for confirmed results, it adds a middle man into the equation and becomes one more entity the results have to go through before getting to the health district.

"It depends on who they [a COVID-19 testing lab] report it to. Do they report it to the state and then to us? Do they report to the clinic and then the clinic reports it to us? There is just a lot of places in the chain where it could have an issue," Craine said.

If you do go get a test, the health district stresses that symptoms or not, you should quarantine until your results come in.

"It's best to self-quarantine and monitor until you get those results, even if you don't have symptoms," Craine said.