Labs all Over the Country Battle Testing Delays Due to Omicron
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) is proud to be back to our standard turnaround times of 24-48 hours. We have eliminated our backlog of tests and are now processing 95% of results in under 24 hours. Due to the ongoing Omicron surge, PMLS, like many labs across the country, experienced an unprecedented 733% increase in the number of tests to be processed. Through hard work, investments, and hirings, PMLS was able to “weather the storm” and get back to serving our country the right way.
Here is what Kevin Murdock, CEO of PMLS had to say on the topic: “Each test that we receive is important to us because we know that it affects someone’s quality of life. That’s why our team worked tirelessly to hire and train hundreds of South Carolinians and expand our infrastructure so that we could return to our normal turnaround times of results. We hold ourselves to the highest standards as a laboratory and look forward to serving South Carolina’s diagnostic testing needs.”
Cause to Testing Delays
Over the last month, laboratories and manufacturers across the country have struggled to keep up with testing demands due to the ongoing Omicron surge. On January 3 alone, the US logged more than 1 million new COVID-19 cases for the first time according to Johns Hopkins University. Scientists found the milestone was driven by the Omicron variant, which is more highly transmissible than other variants. This led to a massive uptick in testing, causing thousands of labs like PMLS to enter an unprecedented situation. From January 3 to the week of January 17, PMLS received an additional tens of thousands of daily tests, far more than their normal daily test volume. This created a backlog. Paired with a record-breaking snowstorm, shipping delays, and supply chain shortages our usual 24-hour turnaround on testing turned into several days. This did not sit well with our leadership at PMLS, so they acted quickly and drafted an immediate plan to get back on track.
Solutions to Testing Delays
PMLS invested millions of dollars in capital equipment to support our infrastructure. As of January 20th, we installed more than 30 machines, increasing our testing capacity by an additional 60,000 tests per day. We have also hired on 300 more employees since the beginning of January and are still working to add on more South Carolinians to the PMLS staff. With the new infrastructure and workflow optimizations, we are now processing tests in under 24 hours and expect to keep it that way. For more information on this from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) please click on the following link: https://scdhec.gov/news-releases/dhec-announces-premier-medical-cleared-testing-backlogs-returning-wait-times-standard