ST PAUL, Minn. — Drive up COVID-19 testing sites are spread out across the Twin Cities, and the turn around time for results is spreading, too.
Dr. Cynthia Woods is the interim medical director at Open Cities Health in St. Paul, and she said her office started noticing a backlog on July 1 but getting results to patients is out of their hands.
“It is an unfortunate situation. Areas such as Texas and Florida are having surges at the moment. And, due to that, a lot of the tests that were coming back within 24-48 hours ... are coming back in days. Sometimes up to seven.”
Woods said people should function as if they have the virus during the waiting period, especially if they were exposed to someone who tested positive.
“If you are in the house with anyone, you need to separate yourself from your other household members and pets. Make sure that you are not cross contaminating household items,” she said “You should even refrain from doing routine things like going to the grocery store or out to get gas, for example."
That also includes avoiding the office.
Open Cities provides a work excuse.
Woods said it used to say 72 hours, but the health center recently modified the time frame to reflect the delay in testing.
“It is very difficult. We all have cabin fever at this point. But just be mindful of those in the community that may not have as robust of immune system’s and that may be more vulnerable is very important,” she said. “You may feel fine but for 24 hours you could still be shedding the virus and you could still be a risk and expose other people.”
The number of cases among people between the ages 20-29 continues to increase, nearly 9,000 as of this week. State health officials said they are worried that the recent increase in young adult and teenager infections could spread the virus to adults who are at higher risk due to their age or chronic health problems.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.