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Coronavirus testing surge creates large reporting backlog for state

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The State Department of Health has paused on reporting negative test results.

OLYMPIA, Washington. The Washington State Department of Health has asked some labs to temporarily stop sending individual negative coronavirus test results as it works to clear a backlog of coronavirus tests.

The DOH said labs are receiving 30,000 to 50,000 tests per day. The state’s testing capacity is 33,000 tests per day.

On Saturday, the department said the increased demand had created a test backlog of 53,000 tests.

“We have been working to expand the capacity of the systems to receive additional results in anticipation of an outbreak, but the recent growth of the disease and associated testing volumes have exceeded our efforts,” the DOH spokesperson said, Frank Ameduri, in a statement.

The temporary decision to withhold notification of negative tests will allow labs to focus on people who have tested positive.

The DOH said the backlog means the number of recent cases is likely an undercount that does not reflect trends in the disease.

DOH expects test volumes to continue to increase.

It is not known if the pause on notification of negative results will be lifted by Thanksgiving.

In order to assemble indoors, state restrictions require a person to self-quarantine for seven days and be tested negative for coronavirus no more than 48 before the rally.

RELATED: Long Queues at Seattle’s COVID-19 Testing Sites Before Thanksgiving as Cases Rise

RELATED: Skagit County Asks Those Not Showing Symptoms Of COVID-19 Not To Get Tested

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