NCDHHS Adds Testing Turnaround Times to COVID-19 Dashboard

Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has added new data to the COVID-19 Data Dashboard – average turnaround time for COVID-19 testing. Located on the Testing page, the graph shows the average daily turnaround time based on data from all laboratories that report electronically to NCDHHS. Individual laboratories may have shorter or longer turnaround times and, therefore, people’s individual experiences may vary.

In addition to reporting daily turnaround times, the dashboard includes the 7-day rolling average. This trend decreased during the first half of August and is now level.

There are multiple stages that make up the time from when a person is tested to when a person receives results. The first stage is the time between when a specimen is collected and when it is received by a laboratory. Several factors can impact this timing, including how and when the specimen is transported to the laboratory. The second stage is the time between when the specimen is received and when the laboratory has a result. These two stages are shown in dark purple on the dashboard. The third stage is the time between when the laboratory has a result and when the laboratory electronically reports the result to NCDHHS. This stage is shown in light purple on the dashboard. The final stage, which is not represented in the data, is the time between when a laboratory reports a result and when the patient is notified of the result. This stage happens between the health care provider and patient and is not reported to NCDHHS.

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