Local officials see test results taking 9 days to come back

ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WITN) - Thousands of COVID-19 tests are being sent to labs and in some cases, results are taking 9 days to come back.

The wait time can be so long that some health experts say people are recovering from the virus before getting their results.

Onslow County has four cases, two of which indicate community spread, meaning it's possible that anyone out in the community could come into contact with the virus.

One Onslow County resident says, "It's very, very scary because we don't know, I don't know what my tomorrow consists of. We don't even know if the kids are going to go back to school, we don't know anything."

Onslow County Health Director Kristen Richmond-Hoover says, "it's more important than ever that people heed the guidance that we're giving to stay home when you're sick, follow all those same hygiene messages, and take this disease seriously."

Experts say labs are flooded with tests.

Richmond-Hoover says, "What normally would have been a 3 to 4 day turnaround for a lot of lab results is taking more than a week, up to 9 days."

To cut back on test volume, the latest guidance is, not everyone needs to be tested.

Richmond-Hoover says, "If you have mild illness, a test result will not change your course of treatment. There is no specific treatment, the guidance that will be given to you is to stay home until you are well."

Both the Onslow county manager and Jacksonville leaders say, they do not plan on making any stay-in-place order.

Jacksonville City Manager Richard Woodruff says, "When you issue orders and then exempt a tremendous amount of business activity or things citizens do, people become confused."

Richmond-Hoover says, "If you are sick, stay home. You don't need any specific order to tell you that. We are sending that message."

Now, with experts saying not everyone needs to be tested, they don't want to discourage people from getting help. Especially, do not underestimate symptoms. They say things like chest pain and having a hard time breathing should be addressed by a doctor as soon as possible.

Onslow County's phone bank for COVID-19 questions can be reached at 910-989-5027.