Lab Says COVID Results are ‘Missing’ From Dutchess Testing Site
Some Dutchess County residents have started complaining after never being told the results of their COVID test. Now we've learned that many tests were never even processed.
On New Year's Day, Dutchess County teased that Marc Molinaro would soon be announcing expanded hours for residents to receive free COVID-19 testing at the J.C. Penney site in Poughkeepsie. The program, in cooperation with ProPhase Labs, has been criticized lately for taking too long or not even sending results at all.
Jason Betley posted on the Dutchess County Government's Facebook page that he was told results of his COVID-19 test would take 72 hours. After three days came and went, he called the lab to see what was happening and was told that "they haven't received anything from Dutchess County in a week" and that some test results were rejected for shipping issues. Other residents have also claimed that ProPhase admitted to them that samples from the J.C. Penney site were improperly labeled and unable to be tested.
After waiting for several days for test results, many have been frustrated that they haven't been notified whether their test results were missing or delayed. Only after calling up, did some discover that they would need to re-test because the samples were never processed.
ProPhase CEO, Ted Karkus, confirmed to us that an entire day of testing results have gone missing from the Dutchess County site.
Apparently there was one day of testing last week in which results are missing. However, as the lab, we do not know whether the issue is that the specimens were never received at our lab. We do not collect specimens. There is a separate company that does the specimen collection and then sends those specimens to our lab. So we are going to work on this today and see if we can track down what the issue is.
Karkus says that his lab has been "overwhelmed" with specimens for two weeks, but is catching up after increasing their employees from 50 to over 200. Historically, the lab has been turning around results in 24 hours, but Karkus claims that has increased to "approximately 48 hours."
Kelly Ramuno Outwater says that she was tested on December 23, but still had not heard anything as of January 1. Adriana Cuervo Strothmann says it took her six days to get her results. After calling several numbers, Facebook user Annmary Tom says they reached a spokesperson who said "most specimens were mislabeled" from Dutchess County, but "some are still processing and arrived late to the lab."
ProPhase maintains that "on general and historically there have not been issues with turnaround times at Dutchess county."
Dutchess County's Assistant Commissioner of Department of Behavioral & Community Health Anthony Ruggiero says that the current turnaround time is not 48 hours, as ProPhase suggests.
Over this past week, more than 1600 people were tested at our JCPenney site by ProPhase, doubled the volume of the previous week. The volume of testing, at this site, as well as across the region, state and nation, has increased exponentially, overwhelming labs and delaying testing results. Where we were previously seeing less than 24-hour turnaround for test results, it is now taking a minimum of 72 hours to receive results.
Ruggerio says that his department and ProPhase are currently investigating reports of missing results from people tested on Tuesday, December 27. He says that the county is taking the issue seriously. "We acknowledge this is unacceptable and share the frustration people are feeling."