Five day wait for Covid test results can be ‘very disruptive’

People are waiting up to five days for Covid test results, due to delays at mainland laboratories.

NHS Shetland’s interim director of public health Susan Laidlaw said such delays were rare but acknowledged they could be “very disruptive”.

Dr Laidlaw said PCR tests often came back from Glasgow’s Lighthouse testing lab within 36 hours and were usually done within two days.

She said NHS Shetland could use its own testing facility when longer delays occurred.

However, Dr Laidlaw said the local laboratory was mainly for health and social care staff as well as people in high risk settings, such as care homes and hospital patients.

The local lab usually provides results within a day, ensuring key workers can get back to work as quickly as possible.

Where capacity allows, the tests can also be provided on a priority basis to folk working in “critical infrastructure and lifeline services”.

Board chairman Gary Robinson asked about genome testing for the Omicron variant.

Dr Laidlaw explained local facilities were unable to identify different strains.

However, she said positive tests could be sent to the Glasgow lab, which could flag possible Omicron cases for further genome sequencing to confirm.

Have you had to wait for several days for your PCR test to come back? Email to let us know.


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