HARLINGEN – More than 60,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered throughout the Rio Grande Valley and now so many of them are backlogged.
“Labs are overwhelmed, there’s backlogs across the board, in terms of number of machines, number of people who run the machines, supplies you need to run the tests, everything” said Dr. James Castillo, M.D., Health Authority of Cameron County.
That backlog is impacting testing sites across the state and people that typically would wait 3-7 days are now waiting much longer than that.
One Rio Grande City viewer told KVEO she’s been waiting since June 23rd for her test results.
“The testing facility from the National Guard have been very important in our county and they have performed a very significant number of testing, but they are taking seven to nine days because of the high amount,” said Dr. Jose Vasquez, M.D., Health Authority of Starr County.
Because of the long test results, some are choosing to go to a quicker alternative choosing to use rapid testing kits administered by private facilities, but experts say they are not always reliable.
“The faster the test is, the less accurate it is, so the way I would describe it is, there’s two varieties, one that comes in a swab, the swab is put deep into the nose or into the throat, and some of those tests can get a result in 15 minutes, but the problem with such a fast test is if it’s negative you can’t trust it, if it’s positive, now you know you can trust a positive result, you’re done, you can trust it,” said Dr. Castillo.
Which means back to the long lines at testing sites, even it takes lots of patience, it will be worth it.
“I know there’s a big delay, but the fact that a person felt they needed to go get tested means they need to be home self isolating and not causing other infections,” said Dr. Castillo.
Testing in the Rio Grande Valley are still ongoing.
Swabs from the valley have been sent to labs all across Texas and some even to California.
“Labs are trying to expand their capacity as much as possible, UTRGV here is trying to double their capacity to over 2,000 test a day,” said Dr. Castillo.
Another big factor in the backlog is because all valley hospitals are at capacity, whenever a hospital sends in a swab, that sample goes to the top of the list, in turn creating a bigger delay.
For a list of testing locations click here.