While watching the 3/20/2020 Presidential & COVID19 Task Force press conference there was a lot of questions and answers about the access, availability of COVID-19 testing. Unfortunately many of the answers were rather vague and tended to refer to future availability, rather then the actual numbers of tests being performed on a daily basis. (IMO and for clarity purposes, a test hasn't been completed until the results are determined)

A question I would have expected (owing to the lag time between specimen procurement and final result) would have been how many tests were actually completed on Monday of this week in contrast with daily throughput for prior days.

That got me to wondering if, perhaps, the various labs that are performing these tests (which now include LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics as examples) are not required to inform the COVID-19 task force how many tests they have completed on a daily basis. (One would anticipate that testing giants like LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics would have a corporate database that is continuously being updated)

Appropriate to the politics.se (function and process of government): Are the number of COVID-19 tests completed being reported to the government?

Extra credit: Are the private labs required to report COVID-19 positive results and include the personal identifying information for those positive tests?

  • 1
    It would be weird if they did not have to report infections to the CDC. I'm not sure about total tests performed though. News from 10 days ago: aha.org/news/headline/… "Redfield told the House Committee on Appropriations that he hopes the system will be “comprehensive,” with the capacity to track “how much testing is being done and what percentage of those [tests] are positive, when and where."" Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 18:38
  • They may not have to. But they definitely do. What would be the rationale not to? Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 18:49
  • @dan-klasson "they definitely do" (report the personal identification)... How are you certain?
    – BobE
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 22:02
  • I'm pretty sure they report to the CDC.
    – user29681
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 22:07
  • 1
    @dan-klasson - unless it has been changed recently private labs ARE required to report personal data on positive syphilis and tuberculosis testing to the CDC. Can't find out about the reporting requirements for COVID-19.
    – BobE
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 0:52

3 Answers 3


The CDC makes it sound like at one time the FDA required reporting to the CDC. However, that changed on March 14, 2020:

As of 14 March 2020, public health laboratories using the CDC assay are no longer required by FDA to submit samples to CDC for confirmation. CDC is maintaining surge capacity while focusing on other support to state public health and on improving options for diagnostics for use in the public health sector.

Of course, that's only for labs using "the CDC assay." I had no idea what an "assay" is, so I looked it up:



a procedure for measuring the biochemical or immunological activity of a sample. plural noun: assays

So I take that to mean anyone who is testing for covid-19, they did have to report. But not anymore.

Also worth noting, it could be a state issue (emphasis mine):

CDC is no longer reporting the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) that have been tested, as well as PUIs that have tested negative. Now that states are testing and reporting their own results, CDC’s numbers are not representative of all testing being done nationwide.

So as far as a central federal agency, the answer appears to be no. It seems states are handling their own testing.

  • If, as you posit, the answer is no, laboratories (state/county/private) are not reporting the number of tests being performed to a central federal agency (for example CDC or directly to the COVID-19 task force) -- then it follows that the task force doesn't really know how many tests are being performed, consequently there would have been no point in asking about what the daily testing throughput is.
    – BobE
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 0:57
  • Yes. I recon that would be correct.
    – user29681
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 3:11
  • 4
    Submitting samples to the CDC for confirmation is very different from reporting results. That the former is no longer required says nothing at all about the latter.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 4:32

Supposedly they are now reporting the to the CDC but the details are still a bit hazy. CNN News from March 23:

Vice President Mike Pence said during Monday's White House press briefing that 313,000 coronavirus tests having been completed with more than 41,000 tests having come back positive.

In the past, Pence noted the testing numbers he provides do not include community hospitals or community labs, but he did not make that disclaimer during the press briefing Monday.

He added all state and hospital labs are now required to report their coronavirus test numbers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We also reminded the governors today that all state laboratories, all hospital laboratories, are now required, by law, to report the results of coronavirus tests to the CDC,” Pence said.

Still it's unclear to me if "totally" private labs are included in that scheme.


This does not directly answer my question, as my question pre-supposed that the states and private labs were reporting to some central FEDERAL agency.

But I've discovered that there is a private effort to compile the COVID-19 testing from all the states at one website: Private effort to track COVID-19 testing

Unfortunately it does not provide the data I was looking for (what is the daily throughput of COVID-19 testing and to what extent has it been "ramped up"

Regardless, I thought it would be useful to stack exchange participants to highlight at least this non-governmental effort to get a snapshot of the testing status.

  • BTW, if you want some non-governmental numbers, John Hopkins University isn't government I don't think, and 1 point 3 acres is a non-governmental effort to track covid-19.
    – user29681
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 3:10
  • @Chipster - what i was really (originally) interested in was trying to get a sense of the rate of "ramping up" of testing, hoping to find that the White house task-force was tracking the daily increase in testing. If they are tracking, I haven't discovered it yet. In the meanwhile non-federal sources will have to suffice. Thanx
    – BobE
    Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 4:01

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