COVID-19 test result times have gotten faster, but cannot support broad contact tracing

The latest survey conducted by the multi-university COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, led in part by Shorenstein Center faculty Matthew Baum looked the speed at which survey respondents received COVID-19 test results, and what that means for effective contact tracing.

You can read the full report here.

Despite a slight increase in the speed at which people tested for COVID-19 received their results, the time it takes to get the results are too slow in most cases to support a successful strategy of contact tracing.

Here is a list of the research team’s key findings:

● Average testing times have fallen since April (from 4.0 days to 2.7 days in September)

● Across all months, Black respondents wait almost an entire day more than white respondents for their test results (4.4 days to 3.5 days, on average)

● In our September and August waves, the average respondent waited 6.2 days between seeking a test and receiving test results

● Only 56% of those who tested positive for COVID-19 report being contacted as part of a contact tracing attempt