Frustrations behind COVID-19 testing goes beyond patients

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Doctor Rais Vohra, with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, says the frustrations behind COVID-19 testing goes beyond patients.

Because of current restrictions, there's no way to know exactly how many people locally have the virus.

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"The testing is limited because we don't have enough and because it takes so long for the results to come back," Dr. Vohra said.

Since there is limitation, testing is prioritized. Those who have COVID-19-like symptoms and are considered high risk are more likely to be tested.

High risk means they recently traveled abroad, came in contact with a positive patient or went to an area with a high number of positive cases.

"We are also trying to test people that have a high chance of transmitting to a lot of people because they happen to work in health care or as a first responder," Dr. Vohra said,

Most samples collected in Fresno County are sent to the Tulare County Public Health Lab for testing.

In some cases, they're sent to private labs based on availability. Vohra says the results usually take anywhere between three to five days to come back.

"In those three to five days, if those people that we swabbed and tested are out doing their usual normal functions and interacting with people, then when the test comes back positive, it has been useless," Dr. Vohra said,

According to Vohra, anyone who is sick or coming down with something should stay home, whether or not they can get tested.

"People just need to know that the test is not a vaccine," Dr. Vohra said. "The test is not a cure. The test just lets you know whether you have this infection or not."

He says testing procedures continue to change, and they are hopeful more labs open locally, allowing them to test more people.

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