A new data note summarizes and analyzes survey data collected by HRSA, as reported for July 31, 2020. Among the key findings:
- Community health centers have tested nearly 2.48 million patients for COVID-19 infection since reporting began in April.
- 320,566 health center patients have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, accounting for an estimated one in 14 of all COVID-19 cases nationally (7 percent).
- More than half (55 percent) of responding health centers reported turn-around times for test results of four or more days. While this was an improvement compared to the 66 percent of health centers that reported extended wait times the prior two weeks, it reflects continued bottlenecks.
- Only 45 percent of responding health centers reported average test turn-around times that met the Department of Health and Human Services acceptable standard of up to three days.
- One in 11 sites (1,048) was reported closed and visits to health centers remained below average weekly pre-COVID-19 levels. Visits remain 22 percent lower than prior to the pandemic, driving subtantial revenue losses.
As outbreaks surge, with 23 states in the “red zone” of increasing coronavirus cases, community health centers continued to conduct high numbers of COVID-19 virus tests, but longer turn-around times to obtain test results, which reflect broader delays and may be indicative of capacity issues, could result in both delayed care, and greater spread of coronavirus cases. Furthermore, sustained losses in access points and staffing, gaps in the supply of PPE, and ongoing visit losses that are indicate that health centers will require greater and ongoing financial support to strengthen health center testing and fully restore primary care capacity.
The data note was produced by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative.
Download the data note here.