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Quest Diagnostics reports rise in turnaround time on COVID-19 testing demand surge

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Quest Diagnostics Inc said on Tuesday the nationwide surge in coronavirus cases has led to a slight increase in turnaround time for its COVID-19 testing.

Testing orders increased by about 50% compared with the last week of September, Quest said in a weekly testing update here, adding it was also experiencing increasing constraints on supplies, including test kits.

The number of U.S. infections documented to date surpassed 11 million on Monday, a little more than a week after crossing the 10-million mark - the fastest time it has taken for the national tally to grow by a million cases.

Several U.S. governors, from the coastal states of New Jersey and California to the heartland of Iowa and Ohio, acted on Monday to restrict gatherings and boost face-coverings in confronting a coronavirus surge they warned is out of control.

Quest said the turnaround time for its COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing is now slightly more than two days for all patients and up to two days for priority patients.

Its average turnaround time until last week was two days for all patients and one to two days for priority patients.

The company cautioned turnaround times may increase even further, as it expects COVID-19 cases and testing orders to rise in the future.

Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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