McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield has launched a drive-through COVID-19 test unit. With procurements from the University of Oregon, the hospital now has in-house equipment to provide expanded community testing.
In order to re-open the state, Oregon Governor Kate Brown says increased local testing is necessary. Those efforts have been hampered in Lane County. Sorely needed testing equipment and materials have often been unavailable or re-routed to other places with greater need.
On Monday, McKenzie-Willamette hospital opened a drive-through testing unit. Assistant CEO Adam Loris is project lead on the newly established lab. He says they’ve created their own form for doctors to order a test for the virus.
“So what we’re doing is encouraging anybody who feels like they’ve had an exposure to COVID or are symptomatic, to go see their primary care provider, have them fill out this referral and then come.”
Swabbed specimens are collected curbside Monday through Friday from 1 to 5pm. Over 40 tests have been taken thus far. Loris says capacity will be greatly expanded once a high capacity batch analyzer called the KingFisher (Thermo Fisher Scientific) arrives at the end of April. He says this should increase testing volume from 100 to 500 test a day with-- results in a few hours.
Loris says the U of O used its leverage to procure lab equipment in high demand. Items like micro-centrifuges, pipetting machines, biosafe cabinets and nasal swabs. He says the partnership with the university will have resounding impacts on the community.