Local lab working to process and meet COVID-19 testing demands
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — COVID tests are hard to come by right now, but one local lab is trying to help fill that hole, while also processing and giving results back.
Incyte Diagnostics runs some COVID tests being done in Spokane communities. This includes tests being done at hospitals and clinics. Since COVID transmission increased, so did the demand to run tests.
During the summer, they were doing about 200 tests per day, now they’re running about 1,400 tests per day.
Tim Hawley, the clinical lab manager for Incyte Diagnostics, says they get COVID samples daily and at any time. When they get them, they sort them and try to process the tests within four to six hours.
Like many other businesses during the pandemic, it needed to shift gears. What once was a place that ran different tests for hospitals is now taking on an influx of COVID tests.
Staff at the lab have minimal exposure to the virus when they process them in a system called the Panther Fusion.
“It’s a fully automated PCR system, and it’ll detect whether a sample has COVID in it or not,” Hawley said.
Prior to putting it in the automated machine, Hawley says they take COVID samples into a biohazard hood while wearing their lab coat and gloves.
“These hoods have a HEPA filter and there’s very little chance for exposure,” he said.
Like many other businesses, the lab needs more workers.
“What it does mean our staff are working hard and, at times, working extended hours, but it hasn’t hindered our ability to get the testing done,” said Dr. Carmen Wiley, the clinical medical director for Incyte Diagnostics.
It’s been a whirlwind ride for the lab, trying to figure out how to help in the beginning of the pandemic. It’s come a long way in turning around test results for clinics, and for anyone else looking for one in Spokane.
Wiley says when they first started processing COVID tests, it would take about two days for it to give back results. She said they get results out within 24 hours.
Also, the lab also does COVID testing for people in need. They have four different locations where you can get those tests done. You just need a doctor’s order for the tests.
You can find out where to get those tests at four of their patient locations or employment information here.
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