SANTA FE – New Mexico residents have waited in longer lines for COVID-19 testing and must wait several days to several weeks for test results as confirmed coronavirus cases surge throughout the state, health officials said.
Department of Health spokesperson Marisa Maez said Monday that the waits are happening because more daily cases mean more testing, putting strain on laboratories and increasing result delays, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Maria Higuera went to get tested for COVID-19 at a state health department office in Santa Fe on Nov. 18 and was still waiting for her results on Monday. Higuera said she and her family were tested in preparation for a visit with her son in Utah last week.
“If I knew it would have taken 12 days, I wouldn’t have done it,” she said, adding she’d been tested three times before and never waited more than several days for her test results.
According to data posted by the Department of Health on Friday, the state’s seven-day average daily testing number is 12,651 – compared with 5,000 tests daily earlier in the pandemic.
There is a “tremendous influx of tests pouring into the state lab; roughly 3,000 per day. Meantime, other contracted labs both in and outside of New Mexico are equally as overwhelmed,” Maez said.
There is also a slower process of informing people about their results because most are opting out of text message alerts and that forces health workers to make calls directly, she said. Many people don’t answer because they are called from numbers they don’t know.