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Some patients still waiting more than one week for coronavirus test results

Minnesota's backlog of test results is cleared, but results sent out last week to national labs may still be delayed

MINNEAPOLIS — A very sick Amanda Koop drove up to the Sanford Health Clinic in Bagely, Minn. last Thursday to be tested for coronavirus.

Koop is an essential worker, providing daycare at a school. But now she's in limbo.

"I have to wait for results to go back to work, and I'm just kind of sitting here, unpaid, wondering when I'll get the results," Koop said.

KARE 11 News is hearing from several people in the same situation. Like Cassie, in the Twin Cities, who was tested at Fairview Southdale's ER nine days ago.

"Just having the answer would be awesome. I feel guilty taking my trash out right now," Cassie said.

As of Wednesday, 287 people have tested positive in Minnesota for COVID-19.

That's out of 11,475 total tests -- meaning 97.5% of the tests have come back negative.

That ratio remained similar even after the state has pared down exactly who they test.

But learning the result -- even if it is negative -- is important for the patients.

"Just a negative test result. That's what I want to hear. So I can go back to work. So I can be a normal person again," Koop said.

According to the Minnesota Heath Department, test results are now turned around in 48 to 72 hours. Negative results are sent back to the hospitals who are supposed to notify the patients.

So why the delay? It is related to tests sent to external, national labs.

"In the case of some of the clinics that are using national labs, we don't have much transparency into their timelines or their feedback process back to the providers," said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

Malcolm and Governor Walz believe the state with increased supplies they are finally getting - they will now start working on long-term plans for increasing and improving testing.

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KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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