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National Health Lab Service ‘working flat-out’ to clear COVID-19 tests backlog

The demand for a quick turnaround in processing tests is growing as the virus continues to spread rapidly.

FILE: National Health Laboratory Services officials have told parliamentarians the backlog was clogged at just over 63,000 nationally. Picture: 123rf.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Health Laboratory Service on Wednesday said it was working flat-out to clear the backlog of COVID-19 tests.

The demand for a quick turnaround in processing tests is growing as the virus continues to spread rapidly.

More than 55,000 people have contracted COVID-19 in this country with the death toll now at 1,210.

National Health Laboratory Service officials have told parliamentarians the backlog was clogged at just over 63,000 nationally.

CEO Karmi Chetty said May saw the backlog at its worst.

But she's assured MPs they were working hard to speed up testing.

“So, that’s where we ended up with a huge backlog but as you can see, we have been processing those backlogs and we are improving on that quite dramatically.”

Chetty said the backlog wasn’t a problem, though, and each person who is tested is advised to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent spreading the disease. Just over 33,300 tests have been completed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to over 998,000 national .