A dozen Ohio patients had to be re-tested for COVID-19 after private lab couldn’t process samples

A nurse holds swabs and test tube to test people for COVID-19 at a drive through station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — About a dozen patients who were tested for COVID-19 at an Ohio State hospital in mid-March had to be re-tested because their samples couldn’t be processed, 10 Investigates has learned.

A couple of those people affected said they were tested at OSU East Hospital and had already waited nearly two weeks without hearing any results increasing frustrations at a time of uncertainty for many people in Ohio.

The experience “really left a sour taste in my mouth” said one viewer who wrote to 10 Investigates about her loved one’s experience with having to be tested and re-tested.

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The good news — an Ohio State hospital spokesman said the processing issue only affected about a dozen of the roughly 4,200 patients that have been tested for the coronavirus over the last three weeks.

It’s not clear what the issue was with the samples that had been sent to LabCorp, one of two private labs that has processed testing samples from Ohio patients.

10 Investigates reached out to LabCorp Thursday. We received an automated e-mail message that didn’t directly answer our questions.

Here is the message we received:

“We appreciate your patience as we continue to receive a high volume of media inquiries related to our COVID-19 test made available on March 5. At this time, the test can be ordered anywhere in the U.S. by physicians or other healthcare providers. Patients for whom testing has been ordered should not be sent to a LabCorp location to have a specimen collected. The specimen must be collected by the ordering clinician and then be sent to LabCorp using standard procedures. “

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center has also partnered with Battelle to create rapid results testing available. Governor Mike DeWine has said he hopes it can be available starting next week.

“As Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton have mentioned, private labs, such as LabCorp, have seen a tremendous increase in volume from hospitals around the country, which caused a significant and increasing delay in getting results. Patients who were tested prior to Thursday the 26th May, unfortunately, still be experiencing a delay,” said Marti Leitch, a spokesman for Ohio State hospital.

Dr. Amy Acton signed a health order on Wednesday which calls on hospitals that can’t survey their own samples to send it to Ohio hospitals that can or the Ohio Department of Health.

Private labs like Quest and LabCorp say they’ve been overwhelmed by testing requests, creating delays that last several days.

DeWine called that “unacceptable” on Wednesday.

“Again, the problem has been turnaround 4, 5, 6 days which is simply unacceptable. It’s unacceptable for the patient. It’s unacceptable for the rest of us because knowing when someone tests positive or doesn’t test positive is information we desperately, desperately need,” he said.

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