Quest Diagnostics Media Statement about COVID-19 Testing

Quest Diagnostics Performed and Reported Results of More Than 400,000 COVID-19 Tests Since Introducing COVID-19 Testing on March 9, Reports Progress on Reduced Backlogs

From March 9 to April 1, Quest Diagnostics has performed and reported results of more than 400,000 COVID-19 tests to providers and patients across the United States.

We introduced COVID-19 testing on March 9 from a single laboratory, in San Juan Capistrano, California. In approximately the first two weeks of providing testing, we experienced a sharp influx of test orders that continued to outpace our growing capacity through March. We also incurred a backlog across our network that has been particularly acute at our San Juan Capistrano, Calif. laboratory, given it was the first and, for several days, only lab in our network to provide COVID-19 testing. Much of this testing was based on our lab-developed test, which is less suited to high throughput environments.

In mid-to-late March, we implemented a higher throughput in vitro diagnostic test for COVID-19 from Roche at a total of 12 Quest Diagnostics laboratories across the United States. We also implemented our lab-developed test at two additional laboratories. We completed this process by the end of March.

We exited March with testing capacity in excess of 30,000 COVID-19 tests a day across the 12 performing laboratories.   

We grew our testing capacity to a level that allowed us to meet and at times exceed demand. As a result, we reduced the backlog 28% from 160,000 tests on March 25 to 115,000 tests currently.

Turnaround Times

Our average turnaround time to report results from time of specimen pickup continues to be 4-5 days on average, same as during the last week of March (See Media statement dated March 24). In addition, our patient prioritization program is speeding turnaround time even further for the patients most in need. Through this program, we ask health systems to prioritize patients for testing, in alignment with the CDC’s test prioritization protocol with emphasis on “Priority 1” Patients. Turnaround time for specimens of patients forwarded to Quest Diagnostics through this program is 2-3 days on average from time of specimen pickup and, for some patients, may be less than a day. We appreciate the collaboration of the many health systems we service across the United States to direct testing to patients who are most in need at this critical time.

We appreciate the frustration of waiting for a test result, and our laboratories are performing COVID-19 tests 24/7 to provide testing as quickly as possible. While we are more confident now in our ability to meet demand and report results for COVID-19 testing than in mid-March, when we were still ramping up capacity, this crisis is fluid and unpredictable, and so is the demand for COVID-19 testing. Future changes in demand for COVID-19 testing could alter our ability to provide testing and report results.

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