The Erie County Department of Health is acknowledging delays in notifying residents of COVID-19 test results during a recent surge of cases in November.
“We are aware of unacceptable delays in our process to contact individuals who sought testing at county-run drive-thru clinics,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein in a released statement. “That breakdown has caused unnecessary confusion and uncertainty at a time when the public needs to have complete confidence in our public health response. Our epidemiology team has examined our records closely. We estimate that 10 of the 7,819 individuals with a positive diagnostic test result in Erie County since November 1 were affected by this lapse. I apologize to everyone affected by this error.”
In response, the department of health is expanding its contact tracing team and adjust its process as to how they give Erie County residents information to isolate. “Anyone who has sought a test at an ECDOH drive-through site prior to November 19 who does not yet have their results should call 716-858-2929 and ask to be transferred to Epidemiology,” said Dr. Burstein. “Our epidemiology staff will provide test results and advise on steps to isolate and quarantine household contacts.”
Any patient with a positive COVID-19 test will be contacted by a member of the county's Office of Epidemiology within 24-hours of receiving those results. That patient will be notified of their positive status and advised that a contact tracer will be calling them to complete a case investigation.
Those patients with a negative COVID-19 test result from an Erie County drive-through test site will also be contacted within 24 hours after results are received.
In New York State, health care providers who order lab tests are responsible for informing those patients of their test results.