TORONTO -- Most Toronto residents who are tested for COVID-19 are now waiting more than two days for the results, prompting Toronto Public Health to move one of the key indicators on its monitoring dashboard into the red for the first time in months.

Toronto Public Health tells CP24 that 77 per cent of residents were receiving test results within 48 hours as recently as Sept. 21 but that number has since dropped to 44 per cent amid reports of massive lines at assessment centres and an increasing processing backlog in the province’s labs.

As a result, Toronto Public Health has downgraded its laboratory testing indicator from yellow to red, suggesting that the area is “in need of attention.” It is the first time since the spring that one of the four key indicators tracked by Toronto Public Health have been in the red.

In fact, as recently as August all four indicators – lab capacity, virus spread and containment, health system capacity and public health system capacity – were in the green.

Toronto Public Health says that in order for laboratory testing to be moved out of the red, more than 70 per cent of tests will have to be turned around within 48 hours and more than half of them will have to be processed within 24 hours.

Currently, only about one in five people being tested for COVID-19 in Toronto get their test results in 24 hours or less.

The province’s testing backlog currently stands at 54,759 specimens.