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Sonora Quest taking longer to produce COVID-19 test results in Arizona

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The company processing a majority of Arizona’s coronavirus tests is taking longer to produce results.

The turnaround time for test results from Sonora Quest Laboratories was three days in March, when it first started doing COVID-19 testing.

“It’s now taking five to six days from the time we receive the specimen to report results,” Sonya Engle, the lab’s chief operating officer, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “But we are ramping up capacity so that we can handle the additional volume that’s expected.”

Engle pointed to the “very high demand” of COVID-19 tests over the last few weeks as the main reason why it’s taking her company longer to process test results.

In fact, she said the increased volume of tests over the weekend caused Sonora Quest to miss the deadline to report COVID-19 cases to the Arizona Department of Health Services on Monday.

Engle said several steps are being taken to meet the growing demand and speed up the turnaround time for COVID-19 test results, including bringing in more staff and adding more testing equipment.

The lab is also looking to add a third testing platform that will enable it to offer more than 40,000 coronavirus tests per day. Right now it has the capacity to do 6,000-7,000 tests daily.

Sonora Quest currently performs about 80% of Arizona’s diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

“As we continue to build capacity and offer more testing, we’ll likely see that percentage increase,” Engle said.

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