A new data note summarizes and analyzes survey data collected by HRSA, as reported for July 3rd, 2020. Among the key findings:
- Community health centers have now tested more than 1.6 million patients for the COVID-19 virus since reporting began in April. In the week prior to the survey, 167,190 health center patients were tested for the COVID-19 virus.
- A total of 236,008 health center patients have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, accounting for an estimated one in 12 (eight percent) of all COVID-19 cases nationally.
- Nearly half (47 percent) of health centers reported average wait times for COVID-19 viral test results of four or more days, including 25% that reported waiting 5 days or more, with CHCs is Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, DC, Montana and Texas reporting the highest percentages of waiting times in excess of five days.
- Five percent of responding health centers reported that they currently have no COVID-19 testing and at least eight percent lack the full range of PPE needed to safely conduct testing and maintain general operations.
- One in ten sites (1,168) was reported closed. While this is the lowest figure over the 14 week reporting period, it indicates continued gaps in service availability.
- Visits to health centers remained 27% below average weekly pre-COVID-19 levels.
The substantially longer waiting times for COVID-19 virus tests are not unique to health centers. Rather, they reflect problems with test supply chains, delays reported by major diagnostic companies, and the heightened demand for testing, especially in the South, West, and Southwestern U.S.; test delays could result in both delayed care, and greater spread. While the number of temporarily closed sites is at its lowest level yet, weekly visits continue to be far below usual levels, a sign that health centers are still struggling to get back to full operational capacity
The data note was produced by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative. Download the data note here.