BINGHAMTON, NY – Lourdes has made a dramatic improvement in its coronavirus testing capacity with the addition of equipment that can process hundreds of tests per day.
The Lourdes Laboratory began using a Hologic Panther platform last week.
It’s in addition to two other rapid testing platforms, the Abbott IDNow and the BioFire, that can produce results in as little as 15 to 45 minutes.
That’s a big improvement over the state lab, which can take 24 to 48 hours, or private labs that could take up to a week.
And while the new Panther isn’t quite as rapid, producing results in about 4 hours, its main advantage is its volume of tests.
“We can do up to 500 tests per day on it. Whereas, with our rapid testing platforms, we are much more limited in the numbers we can do. 50 to 60 per week on those platforms whereas we can do 500 per day on the Panther,” says Zur.
That makes the test kits, which come from Hologic, the main concern.
Doctor Zur says that right now, Lourdes has a good amount of supplies for running the tests, but those kits are in high demand.
He says that collection kits, which consist of the nasal swab and vial of fluid to store them in, are much easier to come by now than they were at the start of the pandemic.
Lourdes received a $125,000 grant from the Decker Foundation to buy two additional modules for the Biofire system, increasing its capacity, as well as more test kits.
Lourdes testing is primarily for those who are hospitalized or severely ill patients.
Although Zur says the faster nature of on-site testing makes it easier to fulfill the state’s mandate that all patients coming in for elective procedures be tested first.