CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign-Urbana Public Health District leaders are working on a way to speed up the process of providing written proof of negative COVID-19 test results from the Marketplace Mall testing site. The way it works now, if you are tested there, your employer either has to wait for a letter with your results or trust you when you say you tested negative.
Current notification process
Once your results are processed, positive or negative, you get a phone call. If you test positive, you’ll get that call within 24-48 hours. However, if you test negative, you could wait four to seven days. That’s because those who test positive are a higher priority. Only after you receive a phone call, can you request written proof, which will take around a week after that point to arrive. That can be hard for people who need proof immediately. Some daycares, jobs and schools may require it for you to go in.
On the flip side of that, people who test positive could go to work for a day or two after testing before finding out they’re positive. That’s why public health leaders ask people to stay social distant or quarantine if possible in the meantime. As soon as a lab processes a positive test, that person’s employer is notified.
The notification process for Marketplace Mall is out of the health department’s hands. Your swab is sent to a Carle lab for processing. Once Carle has your results, they send those back to the site. People there call you with your results, but your employer cannot call to get them unless you provide consent for that.
C-UPHD recognizes that something needs to be done to speed up that process and allow for those who have tested to have proof of their results. As a temporary solution, they want people to at least have written proof of being tested to use as necessary.
“One of the solutions that we thought about was, if we ask these employers who are requiring proof of testing or proof of a negative result, at least while they go and get tested, the Marketplace Mall site, stamp it or initial it, to say, ‘Yes this person got tested on this day and this time’,” said C-UPHD Epidemiologist Awais Vaid. However, that is still not a complete solution to the problem.
What happens now?
C-UPHD is working with the Marketplace Mall testing site to provide the paper notification of you going to get a test. They’re waiting to hear back from the site’s manager before they can move forward. Once that process starts, Vaid says they will attempt to get approval for paper test results that can be passed along to an employer.
The Marketplace Mall site is administering 500 tests on average daily. While that number alone is not particularly high, Vaid says it’s important to remember that Carle also has its own testing locations, which administer about 500 tests daily, on average. Swabs from all of those locations are being processed at Carle’s labs.