Northwest Laboratory Announces Large-scale COVID-19 Testing Capacity with Rapid Resulting
BELLINGHAM, Wash., Aug. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to recent national backlogs of COVID-19 testing, Northwest Laboratory (NWL) has announced additional testing capacity to help alleviate shortages. Additional instrumentation, equipment, and staffing were recently added, with a doubling of both biosafety facility size and analytic instrument capacity. Daily testing capacity is now approximately 20,000-25,000 tests per day, with the majority currently open and available.
NWL has been performing COVID-19 testing since March and has partnered with organizations in 31 states, including healthcare facilities, state health departments, employers and universities, as well as with other laboratories that have exceeded their own testing capacities. Test results are available less than 24 hours from the receipt of specimens in nearly all cases.
Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Bull explained that the key to any successful testing protocol starts with rapid test resulting and the ability to test large numbers of individuals. "Waiting 5-to-10 days for test results defeats the purpose of testing," said Bull. "Healthcare providers and employers need results quickly to function efficiently and to reduce the cost of unnecessary isolation in the hospital or lost work days for employers. It is also critical to identify positive patients quickly to prevent outbreaks."
NWL's primary COVID-19 test is the Taqpath RT-PCR test, which is used to identify active infection. They also perform antibody testing, which is used to confirm prior infection.
Jenny Bull describes efficient workflow as critical for maintaining rapid turnaround while performing high-volume testing. "We have a proven workflow for high-throughput testing," said Bull. "With high volume testing, every aspect of the process must be efficient and fully staffed 24 hours a day, from specimen receiving and accessioning to RNA extraction and PCR processing. In addition to enormous staffing increases, we have also made extensive use of robotic sample processing to ensure high quality and rapid turnaround time."
NWL utilizes a patient-focused online portal for results, TestDirectly, which allows patients to access their results directly and also allows organizations to manage their patient populations. NWL is also able to interface directly with existing medical record systems and has developed a system for paper-free sample submission to improve processing efficiency both within the lab and at their partner organizations sites
For more information and other coronavirus testing updates, visit the lab online at nwlaboratory.com.
More Information: Northwest Laboratory
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SOURCE Northwest Laboratory