Patients who are tested for COVID-19 at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow should expect results in three days on average, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Peter Mundt, Gritman’s director of community relations and marketing, said some results are available prior to three days and other results take longer.
Mundt said Gritman uses six laboratories to analyze COVID-19 samples and each has a different turnaround time for providing test results. The six labs include one at Gritman, another at Moscow Family Medicine, one at a state lab in Boise and three are private ones spread across the country.
Gritman has conducted roughly 2,550 COVID-19 tests this year.
“The time in which patients receive their test results varies depending upon the lab performing the test,” Tara Macke, Public Health-Idaho North Central District public information officer, said in an email Friday. “Due to the increased cases and testing related to those cases, the commercial labs have become overwhelmed with the volume of tests that they need to process resulting in a slower turnaround time.”
She wrote it is normal for test results to take several days to be delivered and that Idaho is working to increase its testing capacity.
Macke wrote that the state public health lab strives to deliver test results within 24 hours to patients who are hospitalized or determined by local public health districts to be high priority for public health purposes.
The state public health lab has a testing capacity of 200 tests per day but new instrumentation will allow the state lab to nearly triple its capacity to 500 to 600 tests per day, Macke wrote.
Gritman tests patients at its COVID-19 drive-through testing site, which opened earlier this month, at the Gritman Martin Wellness Center. Gritman’s Emergency Department mobile respiratory unit still tests patients for the coronavirus but hospital staff is directing most patients seeking testing to the drive-through site.
If a Gritman/Moscow Family Medicine physician ordered a test for a patient, that patient can log into his or her Gritman patient portal to view test results, Mundt said. Patients can also call the office of the physician who ordered their test. Mundt said Gritman/Moscow Family Medicine does not call patients who test negative.
He said the patient’s ordering provider will contact that individual if he or she tests positive.
Public Health-Idaho North Central District works with positive coronavirus patients to identify who they have been in contact with, Macke wrote. Those who were exposed to the positive patient are notified and provided with recommendations for isolation and/or testing. They are then monitored for at least 14 days from their last exposure.
Individuals participate in contact tracing at their discretion, Macke wrote.
“The process is voluntary but crucial to reduce the spread of the disease,” she wrote.
To protect patient privacy, Macke wrote those who were exposed are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.