LIMA — Same-day COVID-19 testing is now available in Lima, allowing patients who qualify for a test to get their results back sooner.
Lima Memorial Health System started performing real-time viral tests in its laboratory on Monday, working with other hospitals in the region that were previously sending COVID-19 tests to private labs and the Ohio Department of Health, which can take several days to return results.
The lab is now performing an average of 10 tests per day – based primarily on the number of patients from local hospitals who meet CDC testing criteria – with the capacity to run up to 90 to 300 tests per day, depending on demand.
Testing is still reserved for those who meet CDC criteria, which prioritizes tests for hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, first responders and patients in long-term care facilities while testing supplies like nasal swabs and extraction kits remain in short supply nationally.
Lima Memorial is relying on the primary chain reaction molecular testing method to quickly detect the presence of the virus in a person who is currently infected, a method relied upon by the Ohio Department of Health and CDC.
“We’re bringing this methodology to the local level,” said Burlin Sherrick, laboratory director for Lima Memorial Health System.
The hospital has been working with Ohio Northern University professor Dr. Dennis De Luca, a molecular specialist and assistant professor of biological sciences, along with several pathologists, the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory and University of Toledo for several weeks to develop same-day COVID-19 testing locally.
“I understood the kind testing that was needed,” De Luca said, “and when I realized ONU had the instrument that the CDC recommended for testing, I was more than happy to offer my assistance.”
Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center has also recently developed the capability to perform rapid COVID-19 testing locally.
In a statement Wednesday, Mercy Health said the medical center is continuing to offer rapid testing, which allows for more specialized care for patients with suspected COVID-19, and will continue to collaborate with Lima Memorial and other laboratories to “ensure that testing abilities are available as appropriate.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.