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People waiting days for COVID test results; StarMed says the issue has been resolved

“This is not good when people are relying on those test results and not receiving them.”
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:20 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For weeks now, WBTV has been following long testing lines, frustration, and delayed test results for thousands across.

“This is not good when people are relying on those test results and not receiving them,” said Donna Mayes of Mooresville, who got a COVID-19 test at the StarMed site at Mitchell Community College in Iredell County.

StarMed CEO Dr. Mike Estramonte agreed to meet with WBTV at StarMed’s new Archdale testing site which opened Tuesday morning. The CEO answered all our questions and added he and his staff take customer concerns very seriously and will work to resolve every case.

“I guarantee if this line we never stopped, it’ll be 24 hours, I guarantee it,” said employees as they tested people at StarMed’s new testing site on South Boulevard where business was booming.

StarMed says the site can test between 500 to 700 people in need of test results every day.

Across all locations, StarMed can handle between 5,000 to 7,000 tests a day.

Qabira Jones said “trying to get a negative test result so I can get back to work because I’m losing leave time,” as she waited in line at the Archdale site.

No-cost test sites like this one are paid by insurance companies and the federal government to provide free COVID tests to the public and return the results in a timely manner.

“It makes me upset that there are people sitting in line, they’re waiting to be tested and waiting for those results because they have to go back to work,” said Donna Mayes.

Mayes has waited a full week to get her results from StarMed.

“Til this day I still haven’t received any results,” said Mayes.

She turned to an at-home test to get her results. Mayes is just one of many reporting slow StarMed turn-around times to WBTV, so we took their concerns to StarMed CEO Dr. Mike Estramonte.

“We’ve worked through it, almost everybody that was impacted by that as of now has been corrected, of course, there’s going to be a few people that are still falling into that bucket and we are doing everything we possibly can to make sure people get their results as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Estramonte.

The CEO tells WBTV the long wait times stem from third-party lab issues and that StarMed gets docked payment from the federal government and insurance companies if they do not return test results within 48 to 72 hours.

The health care group says 80 percent of people getting tested are getting results within 48 to 72 hours.

Dr. Estramonte added, “All I can do is apologize and I take full responsibility, there was an issue with our overflow lab that lab is contracted in South Carolina, they reported the issues, but it was too late and it impacted the entire state of South Carolina as well.”

While testing continues at StarMed ‘s new Archdale testing site, a word of caution from Donna Mayes: “I don’t want people wasting their time like I did trying to get these testing results and going to a site that was supposed to be legitimate and them saying it would be 24 to 48 hours and then not receiving the test results,”

Dr. Estramonte tells WBTV he doesn’t take this issue lightly.

StarMed has reached out to people to redo testing at special locations, and they won’t have to wait in line again.

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