NORCROSS, Ga. - The national shortage of coronavirus testing kits – and the frustrating delay in sometimes getting those results -- has opened a window for private testing labs, including one in Norcross.
This Norcross lab charged us $80 for a COVID-19 test. They've since said the price will be $60. They make it clear the test has yet to receive FDA approval.
Global 7 Diagnostics began offering COVID-19 tests last week to the public. The cost: $80. This week they said they were dropping the price to $60.
The blood test is designed to detect antibodies created by a coronavirus infection.
To see how the process works, FOX 5's Randy Travis signed up to be a customer, paid his fee online and showed up for his 10-minute appointment window.
After a blood draw from my arm, He was told my results would be posted soon.
They were right. Within 20 minutes, Travis had his report. Negative.
But not official.
Global 7 Diagnostics only started offering COVID-19 testing to the public last week.
The Global 7 testing regimen has not received FDA approval yet. The lab makes that clear in multiple places on its website. It says “patients must treat these results as informational only.”
The results can’t be used for any official diagnostic purposes. A positive test would have still required an official test for confirmation.
But the results were lightning fast. Compare that to the problems some people are having with the approved testing.
“We don’t know if they’ve run it,” complained Vickie Perez of Gwinnett County. “We have no idea.”
Perez's husband works in law enforcement. Two weeks ago, he came down with a bad cough and felt terrible. So his doctor arranged for an approved coronavirus test at an official Gwinnett health department testing site.
That was March 19. When we talked to her 11 days later, she still hadn’t received any results. In fact, the wait has lasted so long, her husband is actually feeling better now.
Vicki Perez and her husband have had to remain separated for 11 days waiting for the results of his official COVID-19 test in Gwinnett County.
“I’m upset because my husband needs to go back to work and he can’t get back to work because we don’t have a result of the test,” Perez pointed out.
Even worse, the two of them have to stay apart until they’re certain he didn’t have the virus.
The FDA is fast-tracking approval for more private testing.
On Friday, Abbott Labs won approval for a testing device that will give urgent care clinics a way to deliver results in as little as five minutes.
No word on when other labs like Global 7 might get their own FDA approval.
As for Perez’s husband, he had to drive back down to the health department to ask about his results. He says they told him they misplaced his paperwork.
Turns out he’s also negative.
Except unlike Travis', his results are official.