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Sonora Quest says lab still facing backlog of 3,535 COVID-19 tests

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest testing lab was still facing a backlog of 3,535 COVID-19 tests Monday, a day after Sonora Quest Laboratories had said its once-extensive logjam would be cleared.

The lab said Friday it expected to clear the backlog, which was more than 60,000 tests as recently as July 22, by Sunday.

Sonora Quest said the pending diagnostic PCR tests, which detect active coronavirus infections, were due to factors such as transport, processing, validation and reporting.

Sonora Quest did follow through on its promise to greatly reduce turnaround times.

As of Monday, most test results were being reported within 2-4 days of samples arriving at the lab. As of last week, the reported turnaround time was within nine days in most cases.

On Tuesday, Arizona Health Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that Sonora Quest has increased capacity enough to process more tests in a day than have been coming in.

Slow testing has hindered mitigation efforts in Arizona and caused people to miss more work than necessary after possible exposure to the virus.

Christ said last week that long turnaround times have reduced the ability to do adequate contact tracing of confirmed cases, a procedure that when done properly can help control the spread of COVID-19.

Sonora Quest was called out last week by Gov. Doug Ducey for falling behind on testing.

More than 640,000 of the approximately 960,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests processed in Arizona have been done by Sonora Quest.

Arizona’s health department reported 1,030 new coronavirus cases and 14 more deaths on Monday morning, bringing the state’s documented totals to 179,497 COVID-19 infections and 3,779 fatalities.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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