Results were delayed due to
holiday, overburdened labs

IMLAY CITY — Only two of 80 people who took part in a COVID-19 testing event at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds on June 30 were positive for the virus.

Lapeer County Health Dept. Director Kathy Haskins reported Monday that the results were the latest provided by Great Lakes Bay Area Health (GLBH) medical staff, who conducted the free ‘pop-up’ nasal swab testing program at the fairgrounds.

“As of Friday (June 10) afternoon, all but about 3-5 results were back,” Haskins said. “GLBH reported two positives from those, including one person in Lapeer County and one from out-of-county, both of whom were notified of their results last week.”

Under normal conditions, results of the nasal swab tests would have become available within 3-5 days, however, local health officials anticipated a delay in getting test results because testing took place on the cusp of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Nevertheless, in recent days some of those tested had grown concerned and were anxious to know the results and to put their minds at ease.

One of those individuals said he had contacted both participating agencies and was having no success in getting information about testing results or when they might become available.

In response, Haskins offered some explanations for the delays, which she hoped would assuage the concerns of those awaiting test results.
Haskins noted that participating testing laboratories are required to report all positive test results to the State Lab, either electronically or through some other means.

She added that positive results must be reported to the State within 24 hours of the test; though negative tests are not held to the same standard.

“Positive results are entered into the State’s disease tracking system, which is what we have access to,” Haskins said.

“Our staff checks that system multiple times each day, but until the lab reports the results, we have no information to go on.

“We are (and have been) in the process of trying to track down if the results have been sent, or if they are all negative, which would have explained our not having the results.”

Haskins cited yet another reason why the test results have been slow coming in.

“There was a jump in the number of tests performed over the last two weeks,” she said, “which has impacted lab capacity and the turnaround time for many labs.”

As of Monday afternoon, Haskins was hopeful that all of the test results from the June 30 testing at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds would be received.

“I just received a call-back from my contact at GLBH,” Haskins reported. “She was not sure what the delay was, but she said they just started getting results in on Thursday (July 9) night.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.