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Arkansans face long delays in COVID-19 test results

One man got tested to make sure he wasn't asymptomatic and didn't get his negative result for two weeks.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Some Arkansans are experiencing a delay in the results of their COVID-19 tests as the state continues to see hundreds of cases a day.

Gary Schafer got tested for COVID-19 at an event in Bentonville back on June 26. He did not have any symptoms but wanted to make sure he was not asymptomatic. 

"They'd said it would be three to seven days for results. If it was a positive test, I'd get a call, if it was a negative test I'd get a letter," Schafer said.

But over a week later, neither a call or a letter came. So, Schafer called the department of health in Little Rock.

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"It was just me asking, 'hey, what are my results? I haven't heard anything yet," he said.

The department called back two days later saying he was negative; exactly two weeks after he was tested.

"Definitely, it's too late at that point. You're past the quarantine time even if you are tested positive," Schafer said.

In a statement, the Arkansas Department of Health said the department is increasing staff to speed up testing. 

If you do go get tested and are waiting, you need to presume you are positive and self-quarantine until you hear back.

If you don't hear back, call the clinic where you were tested.    

"They told me I was negative, but I still haven't received a letter or anything to confirm that," Schafer said.

A backlog of tests is a nationwide problem. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Congress has written to the vice president to expand testing capacity in the commercial labs.

"The slow response coming from our commercial labs is something we want to continue to work on," Hutchinson said.

RELATED: Arkansas National Guard to provide support at isolation facility for COVID-19 patients

Schafer believes the slow turn around time is worrisome.

"There's still that unknown of what if they read my results wrong to me or I don't have anything official— like I said, it was just a phone conversation," he said.

The Arkansas Department Of Health recommends you do not go and get re-tested if you have yet to receive your results.

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