ACLA Update on PCR Testing Capacity For COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the United States, ACLA President Julie Khani issued the following statement:

“Yesterday, ACLA member laboratories collectively performed 495,000 COVID-19 PCR tests, reflecting an all-time daily high for our members. We continue to do all that we can to expand testing capacity and provide test results to patients, health care providers and public health agencies as quickly as possible. With demand for testing surging across the country, ACLA member laboratories are experiencing a significant increase in the volume of COVID-19 test orders. Clinical labs are also facing delays or cancellations on orders for critical supplies, such as pipette tips. In addition, specimen pooling, one of the many techniques labs have developed to more efficiently use supplies and increase capacity, is only applicable for populations at low risk or with low prevalence of infection, and is therefore currently limited due to increased positivity rates in communities across the country.

The surge in demand for testing will mean that some members could reach or exceed their current testing capacities in the coming days. In cases where the number of specimens received exceeds an individual laboratory’s testing capacity, there could be an increase in their average time to deliver results. 

As we near the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and anticipate continued demand for testing, we encourage communities to heed the advice of public health officials, such as practicing safe social distancing, wearing masks and postponing non-essential travel. Testing is a vital facet of a public health strategy, but testing alone is not going to stop the spread of the virus. We must take the actions necessary to contain the virus in all communities.”


The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) is the national trade association representing leading laboratories that deliver essential diagnostic health information to patients and providers. ACLA members are at the forefront of driving diagnostic innovation to meet the country’s evolving health care needs and provide vital clinical laboratory tests that identify and prevent infectious, acute and chronic disease. ACLA works to advance the next generation of health care delivery through policies that expand access to lifesaving testing services

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