Patient anxious as he waits for more than a week on COVID-19 test results

Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 21:43:50-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Worrying about COVID-19 test results can be anxiety-inducing, and one man said he hasn’t received his results after 7 days.

“It’s extremely frustrating because you just don’t know. There are times when I feel like the test is going to come back negative, I feel great, I need to get out and be doing some stuff.”

The man wants to remain anonymous. He said he was tested last Wednesday and now he feels better. The process has been hard on his entire family.

“We care for grandchildren also, so it’s putting their parents in a bind because we can’t have the grandchildren here.”

Dr. Lindsey McKernan is a clinical psychologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry. She said the anxiety of waiting to get your test results can be difficult, and she offered a few tips to help people get through that time.

“Going outside, even staying connected with other people in your life with friends or family, remembering to stay emotionally connected even though you’re physically distant," McKernan said.

Dr. McKernan said unplugging from social media and the TV might help too. “There are also some great resources online for mindfulness, meditation, and apps that can help you work on self.”

According to a spokesperson at Vanderbilt, they’ve administered 5,100 coronavirus tests, and 2,800 of them are still processing due to volume, amount of testing, and a national shortage of a substance called reagant. Reagant is used in the testing process. Typically, it takes 2 to 3 days to hear back if you’re tested at Vanderbilt.

Quest Diagnostics said it takes them an average of 4 to 5 days to process the test from specimen pickup, and LabCorps posted on their website that it takes 3 to 4 days.

“I wish there was a faster way to get these test results back.”

One California company has developed a test where doctors will know the COVID-19 test result in 45 minutes. The company said they could start shipping by next week, but it’s unclear if medical facilities in Tennessee will buy it.