Northport VAMC has a new weapon in the battle against COVID-19

COVID test
Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

A Veterans Affairs medical center in New York has a new weapon in its fight against COVID-19.

Northport VAMC recently acquired a BioFire respiratory panel system to its arsenal, according to a VA blog post. The testing solution provides quick COVID-19 test results for Long Island’s veterans, taking the wait down from two days to one hour.

“We’ve had this for about a month. We used to send these respiratory panels to the Bronx and we’d see a 24- or 48-hour turnaround,” said  Beth LeMaitre, microbiology and molecular serology supervisor. “Now it’s an hour. It is wonderful to have this here and we’re really excited.”

LeMaitre and the facility’s microbiology staff utilize technologies like the BioFire respiratory panel system to perform tests ordered by physicians daily.

“We’re running all the COVID-19 testing here,” she added. “We do blood cultures, bacteriology cultures. We do the best we can to take care of our Veteran patients.”

Tests include a number of specimen types and test methodologies.

“It has helped our doctors make more informed decisions for patient care,” said Mary Creed, lead technologist in microbiology and molecular serology. “They can, rather than admit patients, send them home knowing that it is just the common cold and not something more infectious. It really benefits patient care. It is really user friendly and easy.”

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