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In Follow-Up CAP Survey, Laboratories Report More Patient Testing Capability for COVID-19 Despite Persistent Challenges

WASHINGTON, DC—The College of American Pathologists (CAP) resurveyed laboratory directors of CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide and found substantial increases in COVID-19 testing capability available to patients despite ongoing issues with obtaining diagnostic supplies. The CAP’s new survey confirmed what laboratory directors stated in late April—that they expected their laboratories to ramp up their own capacity and offer more tests in their communities in the weeks ahead.

According to those responding to the survey:

  • 76% of laboratories are providing COVID-19 testing.
  • 70% of the laboratories providing COVID-19 tests reported that they have the capacity for more testing than their current levels.

The number of laboratory directors reporting difficulties acquiring supplies for testing was decreased slightly compared to April. However, the June survey confirmed laboratories still face substantial challenges in obtaining supplies necessary for COVID-19 testing.

Of those laboratory directors responding to the survey:

  • 64% reported difficulty in acquiring reagents for platforms/test kits to conduct COVID-19 testing.
  • 60% reported difficulty in acquiring flocked nasopharyngeal swabs to collect and transport patient samples.
  • 55% reported difficulty in acquiring viral transport media/universal transport media to conduct the tests.

Laboratory directors surveyed reported they could do more testing if they had all the necessary supplies. At the same time, laboratory directors indicated increased stress on pathologists and laboratory professionals due to burnout and the negative effects of furloughs and staffing shortages.

The CAP’s study, which was fielded between June 8 and June 13, was a follow- up to its initial study in April to gather trends and frontline data on the burdens pathologists and the laboratories they lead are facing in responding to the national emergency. The CAP surveyed 3,723 laboratory directors from CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide and received 306 responses for an 8.2% response rate. Nearly 70% of the respondents are from hospital-based laboratories; of that, just over two-thirds are based in nonacademic hospitals and just under one-third are based in academic hospitals.

About the College of American Pathologists

As the world’s largest organization of board-certified pathologists and leading provider of laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing programs, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. As a 501(c)(6) membership organization, the CAP is the only entity representing pathologists with unrestricted advocacy capability and a political action committee, PathPAC. For more information, visit yourpathologist.org to watch pathologists at work and see the stories of the patients who trust them with their care. Read the CAP Annual Report at cap.org.