Lab to prioritize suspected COVID-19 test results for inpatients as local man finally gets diagnosis

LabCorp worker running tests. (LabCorp photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Some big news for a young Indianapolis couple and other patients facing long waits for COVID-19 test results.

Doctors at Community North finally got the official diagnosis for a Lawrence Central teacher and coach who's been waiting in the ICU for results for more than a week. The official test result now allows doctors to consider additional methods of possible treatment.

13 Investigates has also learned a major testing lab will now prioritize test results for suspected coronavirus patients awaiting results in hospitals in critical care.

Getting the results

Test results are finally back for Khayri Abdullah after waiting more than a week to learn he is positive for COVID-19. Doctors at Community North Hospital can now add potential new treatment options to help him fight coronavirus.

He's been on a ventilator in ICU and making improvements. But doctors needed a positive COVID-19 test to proceed with experimental drugs.

13 Investigates highlighted Khayri's case Monday.

Lauran and Khayri Abdullah. (Photo provided)

His wife Lauran shared their frustration over the long wait for test results.

"It's challenging waiting on the results to come back to the doctor so they can do what they need to do," she said.

The Abdullahs are not an isolated case when it comes to long wait times. But no one can say how many patients are impacted.

More testing

A national lab partnering with the State of Indiana put out a new statement to address lagging test results.

LabCorp said, "It is exploring all options to prioritize COVID-19 testing for the hospital inpatient population who are being treated for what the physician suspects may be the COVID-19 virus."

In a statement LabCorp also said it is also working to provide "on-site" tests for COVID-19 for its hospital partners.

It comes as the State of Indiana and the nation prepare for a surge in patients potentially impacted by coronavirus.

Right now, at least four major private labs are ramping up to get ready. They all do business in Indiana.

Based on nationwide numbers, LabCorp's CEO said the company can process 20,000 tests daily.

But the company told 13 Investigates it can't provide a state by state breakdown.

Quest Diagnostics CEO touts 25,000 tests per day nationwide, but again no specifics for Indiana.

Locally, Roche Diagnostics is sending out 400,000 tests per week. This is the second week Roche has been shipping out it's test kits.

As for Lilly, no new numbers have been provided to 13 Investigates since it started processing specimens a week ago.