CHICAGO (CBS) — Testing for COVID-19 is now open to anyone in Illinois who wants it – symptoms of not – at nearly a dozen state-run facilities.
But on Thursday night, we asked how the state will handle more tests when many people claim their tests have been lost.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina on continues to investigate that issue… bringing concerns back to state health officials and the governor’s office.
We continue to hear from people who say they’ve been told large numbers of tests were lost, and they may need to get retested. Those people include Caryn Penn, who just wants her results and a straight answer from the state.
Penn lined up at the state-run drive-through COVID-19 testing facility in Waukegan two weeks ago.
That site now relocated to another area.
She said when she didn’t hear anything about her test after a week, she started calling to check on its status.
“They said it’s probably lost, most likely lost,” Penn said.
That’s something Penn was surprised to hear.
“They said there have been instances where we’ve lost tests and test results,” Penn said. “So you might want to check back in a couple days, and then, if you don’t have the results, it’s probably lost.”
She gave it a few more days.
“When I called back, again, they said at this point we can just assume that it has been lost and you should go get tested again,” Penn said.
And that was when she started searching for official information from the state on those lost tests.
Instead, she found our reporting of the issue – and those we’ve heard from with the exact same story.
“I was told by the guy on the phone that basically they lost thousands of tests and a bunch of testing facilities were affected,” Kelly O’Keefe told us on Wednesday, May 20.
We followed up with state officials.
Representatives of Gov. JB Pritzker’s office again denied the state has lost any tests.
So we provided more information – asking why public health employees are telling people who aren’t getting their results that a large number of tests were lost, from more than one location, if that never happened.
On Thursday night, representatives of the governor’s office had not addressed that, but maintain no tests have been lost:
“Again, as we’ve stated we have not lost tests.
“Our 11 community based testing sites have now completed hundreds of thousands of tests, a critical piece of our overall testing infrastructure which is one of the strongest in the nation. The Waukegan testing site works with a lab that processes results in an average of 40 hours with 99% of tests processed in 48 hours. The state contracts with a healthcare company to inform those tested of their results and those contacts begin within 24 hours of receiving results. Given the hundreds of thousands of tests that have now been processed, there are of course exceptions to this timeline, but per the Illinois National Guard, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and our testing coordinators, there are no reports of lost tests at our Waukegan site.”
We will continue to look into this.