Update: The Washington state Department of Health said it cleared the backlog of results as of Monday.
A jump in coronavirus testing has left the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) with tens of thousands of results that have not yet been included in recent case counts.
The DOH had a backlog of at least 53,000 results — including positive and negative coronavirus tests and some for other diseases — as of Saturday, according to a statement from the department. The results had accumulated in the past few days, meaning the number of new cases announced those days were undercounts.
The state’s disease reporting system has the capacity to process about 33,000 test results per day. But DOH is now receiving anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 results a day, according to its statement.
DOH will temporarily pause publicly reporting negative coronavirus tests to address the backlog. The pause is intended to last a week, spokesperson Frank Ameduri said.
The state is hoping to improve capacity, as the spread of the coronavirus and demand for testing are expected to increase in coming weeks. In Seattle, testing centers have been overwhelmed by a spike in demand before the holidays.