SAN DIEGO — Results for coronavirus tests will start coming back much quicker, according to local health officials.
On Wednesday, the San Diego County Public Health Lab received certification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test for coronavirus.
San Diego’s testing lab is one of eight that will be able to test for coronavirus in California. The eight labs will have a turnaround time frame of 48 hours or less, officials with the state’s Department of Public Health said Friday.
“What’s changing is where the test is performed,” County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said. “Because of our increased capability to perform the test here in our public health laboratory, we can now decrease the waiting time for getting a test result back.”
Instead of waiting an average of five days, local patients can get their test results within 24 to 48 hours.
Wooten said the amount of samples coming through for testing at the county lab is currently low, but health officials are preparing in case that number increases. The lab has the capacity to run up to 40 tests at once.
Wooten said providers look for three factors when determining who should be tested for coronavirus: travel history, contact history with anyone who has had the virus and whether or not the patient has a serious lung disease.
“If a person is hospitalized because they have symptoms, we will keep them in the hospital until we get that test result back,” Wooten said.
Meanwhile, the CDC announced it will use flu surveillance systems to monitor patients for coronavirus.
Wooten told FOX 5 she has requested San Diego County join that process, as well. “So we can pick up any community-associated infections that we normally may not be seeing because people may not be sick enough to go to the doctor,” Wooten said.