MACON, Ga. — Around a dozen people either called in or messaged 13WMAZ saying they've had to wait weeks for results on COVID-19 tests.
One woman says she's waited nearly a month after getting tested at a local church.
Around a dozen people that reported the problem to 13WMAZ got their test done through Community Church of God and the Community Empowerment Center that have held COVID-19 testing at multiple churches in Bibb County. The pastor says it's because of a holdup with the lab they use, MAJL Diagnostic.
"I was tested on July the 11th, so we're close to a month now," said Nakia Smith.
Smith is one of those still waiting for test results.
"That's really concerning because I could have, you know, maybe had it, maybe been asymptomatic and can be spreading it to the elderly people," Smith said.
Smith received a piece of paper after being tested saying results should come back in 7-10 business days. They told her to check back in if she hadn't received the results by then.
"I have called to try to get a person in the layout and also a person -- just a person -- just to see if I could get missing information, but to be routed to the person that I needed, and I was never able to talk with anyone at all center back to their one voicemail," Smith said.
The church pastor, Jason McClendon, says they worked to offer this with MAJL to "offer a service to people who do not have an opportunity to get a test."
McClendon says part of the delay is because the free COVID tests were in high demand. 405 people were tested in one day, he said.
"We slowed down, and there were just so many people coming out," McClendon said.
They started testing back up this week, but some people who were tested before still have no results.
McClendon says he wants to apologize to all those who have not received the results back in a timely manner.
In a statement to WMAZ, MAJL apologized for the delays and said "We experienced a backlog in processing specimens due to the spike in the number of people being tested at the community-based COVID drive-thru testing sites."
Lisa Cloud, the lab's director of operations, told WMAZ they're having to use an outside, or "reference," lab because they don't have all the COVID-19 equipment in yet to process the nasal swab tests. On top of that, those labs they're working with are also experiencing delays.
Smith says she finally got someone on the phone Thursday evening. The representative told her that her results will be ready by the middle of next week. If she receives the results then, it will be a month or more from when she was tested.
McClendon and Cloud say they plan to offer another testing event for people who have not received results. The date and time are not set yet. The lab says they expect to get those results back in 7 to 10 days.
Full Statement from MAJL Diagnostic:
"MAJL Diagnostic Laboratories would like to apologize for the unanticipated delays in patient results. We experienced a back log in processing specimens due to the spike in the number of people being tested at the community based COVID drive thru testing sites MAJL was servicing in the month of July.
MAJL is the lab that collected the specimens in the field and specimens are sent to a partnering reference lab for processing of the COVID-19 test. Many high-volume reference labs are at a turnaround time of 7-15 days for results due to the high volume of test being processed as a result of the global pandemic. Additionally, some of our partnering reference labs may also be experiencing delays as a result of manufacturer reagents also being on backorder.
Again, we apologize for these unanticipated delays. Getting patients accurate and timely results is our number 1 priority. Patient results will be sent via a text and email when the test results come into our provider portal from the lab processing your specimen.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Again, we apologize for any delays or inconvenience this may be causing."