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Lee Health to begin testing in-house to reduce wait time for test results

Lee Health expects to begin in-house testing this week for the samples collected at its mobile collection sites, which should reduce wait times for results and give all of us a clearer picture of the infections.

That’s crucial because some have waited days or even weeks.

Jeffrey Mandel got tested at the Page Field location in Fort Myers and had to wait weeks to find out he didn’t have COVID-19.

He had been told a much different story, so now, he doesn’t know what to believe.

“Did I have it or didn’t I have it?” he asked.

That’s the big question he wants answers to.

“I had a fever, sore throat; I had a chest cough, all that good stuff,” Mandel said.

His symptoms, age, and a weak immune system got him an order from his doctor to get tested for COVID-19.

“She just swabbed me…and said goodbye. I drove off and it was pretty easy,” Mandel said.

The simple process then took much longer as he was waiting for his results.

“It’s taken five days…it’s taken 10 days…it’s taken 14 days—what the hell is going on here?”

Nearly two weeks later, Mandel’s doctor’s office told him his test was never refrigerated.

Frustrated, he picked up the phone and called LabCorp.

“So I said does that mean my test isn’t viable? She said well if it came in not refrigerated then no, it’s not viable,” Mandel said.

After isolation, Mandel’s symptoms are gone, but his concern still lingers.

What if this happens to someone else?

“At that point, I started feeling like I’m just another number; I’m not even a person to them, I’m just a number,” Mandel said.

This is the statement we received from LabCorp, saying, in part:

“We make it very clear how specimens should be handled and we provide those instructions to physicians and healthcare providers…including guidance that the specimen should be frozen.”

Lee Health has yet to respond to our questions about the specimen collection procedure.

However, they did send out a release last week that says in-house testing will reduce the time to get results back.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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