Since Quest began processing the highly complex COVID-19 tests on March 9, we have steadily increased testing capacity to meet the evolving needs for healthcare providers and patients in our communities. So far, we’ve processed approximately 2.15 million diagnostic tests and have grown our capacity to 70,000 per day.We continue to perform molecular testing at 12 laboratories across the country, Quest’s fleet of 25 aircraft quickly moves specimens from point A to point B, and 3,750 courier vehicles transport tests from hospitals and doctors’ offices to Quest laboratories throughout the United States.At the peak of the crisis, Quest lab services accounted for nearly half of all COVID-19 testing across the US.
In order to simplify the ordering process and further increase capacity, Quest moved to one flexible test code (test code 39448) for all molecular COVID-19 test orders and results on April 13th. When ordered, any of the existing Molecular/PCR tests may be performed and resulted.As always, please refer to the Test Directory for the most up to date test-specific information.
Turnaround time for COVID-19 testing is typically less than 2 days from the time the specimen is received in our laboratory.On April 27, the CDC updated its guidance on prioritizing patients for testing, which now includes asymptomatic people among high priority or priority categories for testing. We are evaluating the updated CDC guidance to determine whether to modify our existing prioritization program, which is based on the prior CDC guidance.
We have sufficient supplies on hand to conduct testing at our target capacity of 50,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day. Since we began to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing in early March, we have shipped 2 million specimen collection kits to healthcare providers. (We do not manufacture specimen collection kits, which typically involve a swab and other materials that a healthcare provider uses to collect a respiratory specimen.)As the worldwide supply chain for collection kits, reagents, and personal protective equipment (PPE) remains strained, we continue to provide specimen kits to healthcare providers, as inventory permits.
As an essential service, Quest’s doors remain open. However, we are strengthening the already-rigorous safety procedures in our Patient Service Centers and following evolving social distancing and capacity guidelines. New precautions include:
- Providing gloves to patients to use touchscreen kiosks
- Disinfecting all surfaces more frequently
- Dedicating the first hour of each day to high-risk patients
- Limiting the number of people in the waiting room
- Mandating enhanced COVID-19 safety training for employees
- Equipping employees with additional personal protective equipment
- Washing hands more frequently for at least 20 seconds
Additionally, patients who suspect they have COVID-19 are being directed to contact their doctor or an authorized healthcare provider for testing information and not come to Quest Patient Service Centers.
The molecular tests (sometimes called swab or RT-PCR tests) have not been FDA cleared or approved. The molecular tests have been authorized by FDA under an EUA for use by authorized laboratories. The molecular tests have been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. The molecular tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.