LIMA — Lima Memorial Health System recognized Ohio Northern University and one of its professors Friday for their contribution to helping establish the region’s only molecular testing site for COVID-19.
Dr. Dennis DeLuca, associate professor of biological sciences at Ohio Northern University and a molecular specialist, and ONU President Dan Dibiasio were the surprise honorees at the event, each thinking they were there to recognize the other.
Mike Swick, president and chief executive officer of Lima Memorial Health System, said DeLuca helped lead the enhanced testing initiative on behalf of the university.
“Dr. DeLuca has been here doing over 300 tests a day and getting almost immediate (test) results, usually within 24 to 48 hours,” Swick said. “He’s installed all his own equipment to do the work and providing extensive leadership and technical consultation on this project. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you are doing,” he said to DeLuca.
Ohio Northern University was recognized for its collaboration with the hospital to address a critical health need in the region. As a result, Swick said, Lima Memorial has become a regional testing center for hospitals and facilities throughout the region, providing reliable and timely results.
“We are delighted that Ohio Northern University has partnered with us on this endeavor,” Swick said.
DeLuca said the project has been “very exciting. It’s been a lot of fun being able to serve the community.”
Dibiaso said ONU “is delighted to have been a partner in this. We are a private university dedicated to the public good. Dr. DeLuca helped Lima Memorial Hospital provide our community with a first-class testing opportunity, and we are all beneficiaries of that.”
There are two different types of tests for COVID-19: diagnostic tests and antibody tests. A diagnostic test can show if patients have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate themselves from others.
Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests which detect the virus — molecular tests, such as the RT-PCR tests being conducted at Lima Memorial Health System that detect the virus’s genetic material. Antigen tests, the other type of diagnostic procedures, detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.