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Some Texans Aren't Being Notified About Positive COVID-19 Test Results

A drive-up testing center for COVID-19 at Baylor Scott & White clinic in North Austin.
Julia Reihs/KUT
A drive-up testing center for COVID-19 at Baylor Scott & White clinic in North Austin.

From Texas Standard:

Though quickly communicating positive COVID-19 test results can be an important way to limit the spread of the virus, Texans and their doctors don't always learn results within the recommended three-to-four days.

Houston Public Media Senior Producer Davis Landfound himself at the center of such a story. He recently got tested before visiting some friends.

“I waited a few days, didn’t hear anything, and was wondering what that meant,” Land told Texas Standard host David Brown. He finally found his results online: they were positive. 

“I never got a call or text or anything. I happened to be lucky to know where to look but I know that’s not the case for a lot of people,” Land said.

When Land tweeted about his experience, he found that he was not alone. 

“I heard from a lot of people saying the same thing. They had been tested, they had been waiting for sometimes eight days and still hadn’t heard from anybody. They didn’t know where to look,” Land said. 

Houston Public Media has since rolled out a surveyto collect these stories. While a lot of respondents are reporting normal wait times of about two days for results, others still do not know their status. 

“I’m wondering how many people are out there walking around, who never heard back about their results, and thought that that silence was a negative result when it might not have been,” Land said. According to Land, local officials blame the high volume of positive results. This creates a backlog and makes it difficult to follow up. 

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.