CHICAGO (CBS) — How long should testing for COVID-19 take?
There are wildly different stories from suspected patients. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports some took hours while others are still much longer.
Some patients said they’re waiting days for results and having to just assume that they’re infected until they know for sure.
Debra Westfall tested positive for COVID-19.
“I never had a fever and I know that is one of the criteria to get a test was that you have to have a fever and I never did,” Westfall said.
Last week Westfall started coughing and feeling achy. On Sunday, after being told there was another COVID-19 case in her building, she called her doctor and got tested on the same day.
“I mean like within an hour,” Westfall said.
And 24 hours later, she got a call that she had COVID-19. She said the whole process was “a lot easier than I thought.”
Meanwhile, J.C. Berrios was tested on Friday after developing a serious cough.
“It‘s when you try to take a deep breath and so the more you try to struggle to breath the more it causes you to have these violent coughing fits,” Berrios said.
It took four days of calling to get in with a doctor. CBS 2 spoke with his wife last week.
And now five days after getting testing at Rush, he’s still waiting, even though his doctors are working under the assumption that he has it. Berrios was told his test was being processed in Washington state.
That’s how they do it in commercial labs, like LabCorp or Quest, which advertise results taking three to four days.
In a statement, Rush said: “Patient information is confidential, so we can’t speak to a particular case. It is well known that testing nationwide has been a challenge and hospitals across the country, including Rush, are doing everything possible to provide patients with results. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we are focused on making sure that Rush is as prepared as possible to address rapidly shifting challenges.”
Evanston hospital’s test can deliver results in as little as four to six hours.
“It’s frustrating because you just want to know, but at this point I just want to feel better,” lamented Berrios.
The disparities in the turnaround only add to the stress. Add to the fact that neither of these patients said they’ve heard from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“As a matter of fact, I even called them and left them a voicemail to get back to me,” Westfall said.
The state of Illinois has tested a total of 1,500 people as of Tuesday. No word today from IDPH on how many people are still waiting to get tested.