With so much information being discussed about COVID-19 testing, we wanted to share what our lab department currently has in place and its future plans.
Currently we have the ability to collect molecular specimens which at this time is the standard for a diagnosis of an active infection. This specimen is a swab that is generally inserted thru the nose to the back of the airway. The sample is then sent to a reference lab to be tested. Our laboratories are ready to begin testing those samples within the organization as soon as the testing supplies become available.
Serological testing, or a blood sample, is quickly becoming a topic of conversation as well. Even though we do not know if individuals will have long-term immunity to COVID-19 following an exposure, it is useful to know if they've been exposed. Having this information makes for an accurate contact tracing profile which follows areas of where the virus has been. Our labs will have this testing available to the general public by the first of May. The blood sample that is collected and processed in the lab will show if a patient has had an immune response regardless if they were showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The long-term goal of our laboratories is to have onsite rapid identification (results in as little as 5 minute for positive infections) for active infections of COVID-19 as well as proof of immunity. The timeline for meeting this goal is currently projected to be by late summer.
We continue to plan and expand our testing services to meet the public's need during COVID-19. Having these testing capabilities in place will benefit our healthcare system now and in the future.