Georgians complain it takes weeks to get COVID-19 tests back

Georgians continue to be frustrated by long wait times for COVID-19 test results

ATLANTA — Many Georgians have reported that getting back the results from your COVID--19 tests can take weeks.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon has been digging into these testing problems, which are really two-fold: Number 1, many people are still having to wait a very long time to  get a test, and then when they do, it takes even longer to get results back.

Wilfon found people lined up at a pop-up coronavirus testing site in southwest Atlanta. It's one of several pop-up sites that Atlanta City Council members are hosting.

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Council member Marci Collier Overstreet said she wants to do her part to help more people find a test.

“(I want) to make sure that we’re doing the right thing by the community and testing,” Overstreet said.

In a poll on Wilfon’s Twitter page, roughly half of those who responded said they waited for more than five days for a testing appointment.

Decatur resident Peggy Crowell told Wilfon she's waited 18 days for her test results.

“Getting a test is just crazy. It took me a week and a half. There are no appointments,” Crowell said. “And then once you get a test, you’re not getting your results. It’s a fiasco… it’s pointless.  What’s the use of getting test if you can’t get your results.”

Even the chairman of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education, Jason Esteves, said he's waited 19 days for his results.

“How can we reopen schools when we can’t really test in a way that is effective and efficient?” Esteves said. “It really is like flying blind. You don’t know whether you have the virus or had the virus or not.”

In Fulton County, Board of Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. David Holland said the county is making progress in speeding up the testing process.

“It’s important for people to get the test results quickly, because if somebody does test positive, we want to be able to find out who they’ve been around and inform those people,” Holland said.

When results do come back, they're revealing an alarming trend. According to the State Department of Public Health, the percentage of people testing positive increased from 9.4% earlier this month to 10.8% now.

"The fact that the number of tests is going up along with the percentage of positive tests, that is a really clear indication that there is actually more disease in the community," Holland said.

The state Department of Health said it is working on several ways to speed up the testing process. Starting next week, a North Carolina lab will begin processing 10,000 COVID tests from Georgia every day. The state is hopeful that will help speed up results and help slow the spread.

The Department of Health is also working with local health departments to expand testing hours.

As coronavirus testing expands, so does the need across Georgia