Slow turn around times still impeding progress with more than 1/2 of all test still taking more than 5 days to come back from labs
Current Covid-19 test capacity is inadequate to meet both clinical and public health demands as the test positive percentage is 12%, well above the recommended 3 – 5%. With about half of results taking ≥5 days, public health efforts to respond to this outbreak remain constrained by inadequate capacity.
Despite reporting delays, recent trends indicate viral transmission is waning. The rapidity of improvement is surprising given that April’s broader stay-at-home order only slowed transmission enough to cause cases to plateau. Given that face-mask ordinances are an important different between then and now, they would seem to be the most likely explanation.
Because PCR testing has been stable or slightly declining since early-July, the exact magnitude of recent declines is somewhat uncertain. Long reporting delays suggest some of the decline could be attributable to shortages of critical supplies or personnel (supply side); however, waning transmission could be causing fewer patients to seek care (demand side).
While PCR testing results are incomplete, the percent of patients testing positive has declined from a peak of 23% the week ending July 25th to 12% the week ending August 2nd. A declining test positive percentage in the face of stagnant testing supports slowing viral transmission. The percent of patients testing positive on the antibody (serology) test has remained steady at 12%.
Here is Dr. Gerald’s latest analysis for the full detail and the graphics.