Some residents of Dutchess County have started to complain after never being told of their COVID test results. Now we have learned that many tests were never even processed.
On New Years Day, Dutchess County announced that Marc Molinaro will soon be announcing overtime for residents to receive free COVID-19 tests at the JC Penney site in Poughkeepsie. The program, in cooperation with ProPhase Labs, was recently criticized for taking too long or even not sending results at all.
Jason Betley posted on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page that he was told his COVID-19 test results would take 72 hours. After three days he called the lab to see what was going on and was told that “they had not received anything from Dutchess County for a week” and that some test results had been rejected for problems with the drug. ‘shipping. Other residents also claimed that ProPhase admitted to them that the samples at the JC Penney site were mislabeled and could not be tested.
After waiting several days for test results, many were frustrated that they were not told if their test results were missing or delayed. It was only after calling that some discovered they would need to re-test because the samples had never been processed.
ProPhase CEO Ted Karkus confirmed to us that an entire day of test results was missing from the Dutchess County site.
Apparently there was a testing day last week where results are missing. However, as a lab, we don’t know if the problem is that the samples were never received in our lab. We do not collect specimens. There is a separate company that takes care of collecting the samples and then sending them to our lab. So we’re going to work on that today and see if we can identify the problem.
Karkus says his lab has been “inundated” with specimens for two weeks, but is catching up after increasing its staff from 50 to over 200. Historically, the lab has produced results in 24 hours, but Karkus says that this went to “about 48 hours.”
Kelly Ramuno Outwater says she was tested on December 23, but still hadn’t heard anything by January 1. Adriana Cuervo Strothmann says it took her six days to get her results. After calling multiple numbers, Facebook user Annmary Tom said she contacted a spokesperson who said “most of the specimens were mislabeled” from Dutchess County, but “some are still being processed and are arrived late at the laboratory “.
ProPhase maintains that “generally and historically there have been no issues with turnaround times in Dutchess County”.
Dutchess County Behavioral and Community Health Department Assistant Commissioner Anthony Ruggiero said the current turnaround time is not 48 hours, as ProPhase suggests.
Over the past week, over 1,600 people have been tested on our JCPenney site by ProPhase, double the volume from the previous week. The volume of testing, at this site, as well as in the region, state and nation, has increased exponentially, overwhelming labs and delaying test results. Where we used to see less than 24 hours for test results, it now takes at least 72 hours to receive results.
Ruggerio says his department and ProPhase are currently investigating reports of missing test-takers on Tuesday, December 27. He says the county is taking the problem seriously. “We recognize this is unacceptable and share the frustration people are feeling.”
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