Quest Diagnostics Media Statement about COVID-19 Testing
We have performed and reported more than 63 million COVID-19 molecular diagnostic and antibody serology tests since we began to provide these services in 2020. Demand for our COVID-19 diagnostic testing has increased in recent days following an expected decline over the Thanksgiving weekend. Our average positivity rate also continues to climb, continuing a trend we’ve observed for approximately the past 5 weeks. We continue to perform and report the majority of COVID-19 tests within 1 day* and are well positioned to accommodate potential increased demand.
In addition to testing, it is important for everyone to please seek out vaccines or boosters, as well as to continue to mask, socially distance and practice frequent handwashing to minimize risk for yourself and the community.
In other developments:
- Omicron COVID-19 Variant Testing and Sequencing: Our COVID-19 molecular (PCR/NAAT) and antigen testing services will detect infection with SARS-CoV-2, including the Omicron variant of concern. Our COVID-19 testing services utilize several FDA emergency-use authorized molecular tests and antigen point-of-care tests manufactured by third parties as well as our own internally developed lab innovations. As part of the SPHERES initiative, we perform viral genomic sequencing on select deidentified specimens of patients that test positive for SARS-CoV-2. We then provide these data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to aid their efforts to identify and monitor specific variants, such as Omicron, circulating in the United States.
- Broader Access to COVID-19 Testing Through 1,500 Quest Diagnostics and Third-Party Retail Specimen Collection Sites: In addition to our clinical testing services for hospitals and other providers, we enable individuals to access our clinical-grade molecular diagnostic tests through our consumer-initiated test service QuestDirect. With this service, individuals regardless of symptoms or COVID-19 exposure may perform observed self-collection by nasal swab at more than 700 participating Walmart® and Giant Eagle sites. Asymptomatic individuals or those without a possible COVID-19 exposure may perform observed self-collection by nasal swab at more than 800 Quest Diagnostics patient service centers. Appointments are required (scheduled online) and same-day appointments may be available in some areas. For eligible individuals, QuestDirect testing may be billed to the patient’s health plan or the government, and the individual will have $0 out-of-pocket cost.
- Combined COVID-19 and Flu Test Now Available Through QuestDirect: We have introduced a QuestDirect COVID-19 and Flu Test that provides simultaneous detection of infection by SARS-COV-2 and Influenza A or B (the “Flu”). COVID-19 and flu symptoms can overlap, and co-infection is possible. For eligible individuals, testing may be billed to the patient’s health plan or the government, and the patient will have $0 out-of-pocket cost.
- Pandemic Associated with Rise in Blood Pressure: In our latest Health Trends study published this week in Circulation, researchers with Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland Clinic found significant increases in blood pressure in individuals participating in employee population health services provided by Quest Diagnostics for employers during the first several months of the pandemic.
*Molecular capacity refers to total potential laboratory capacity as determined by instrumentation and total possible volume of laboratory tests. Positivity rates, staffing levels, and other factors impact potential capacity. Turnaround time refers to the average expected number of days required to collect, transport, perform testing on and report results for a specimen. It begins at the end of the day on which a specimen was collected and ends at the end of the day on which we report the result. Turnaround time can fluctuate with demand and other factors and vary by region.