Premier Health, CompuNet to offer up to 1,500 coronavirus tests per day

Premier Health and CompuNet today announced new capacity to provide the region up to 1,500 coronavirus tests per day with results returned faster than with current tests.

Mary Boosalis, Premier Health’s CEO, said it will be a “game changer” for the region.

Teresa Williams, chief operating officer for CompuNet, said about 100 tests a day had been performed locally recently.

“As you can see this is a nice jump in our ability to do our testing,” she said.

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Boosalis noted that more hospital and health care procedures have ramped up as part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s reopening of Ohio’s economy.

“Premier health must do its part because time is really of the essence,” Boosalis said.

Mike Uhl, Miami Valley Hospital president, said the new testing also will shorten the turnaround time, producing faster results.

When national testing first began in March, results would sometimes take 10 days or more. Statewide and local efforts in April shortened that time for results, but it still often takes two to three days, officials said.

This new COVID-19 testing involves polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and the addition of high-throughput equipment at CompuNet’s Moraine headquarters.

Dr. Atef Shrit, chairman of CompuNet’s board of directors, said the additional testing will help reveal the true extent of the outbreak in the community.

“With this new robust platform, CompuNet will no longer face potential factors that can limit its COVID-19 testing, such as availability of reagent and swabs,” said Shrit, “We have received assurances that we will have the testing supplies needed to support the community’s needs.”

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Uhl said the new capacity would allow Miami Valley to test incoming patients and help “restore that consumer confidence.”

“Our commitment has always been that we will have a safe, healthy environment,” he said.

This is the latest step, Uhl said, Miami Valley has taken during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure safety of staff and patients. Other steps including increased cleaning, installation of Plexiglass in some areas, and the removal of some seats in waiting or commons areas.

Premier Health and CompuNet worked with Fidelity Health Care and the University of Dayton to open one of Ohio’s first specimen collection sites on March 17.

In April, Miami Valley reported that it was first hospital in the nation to provide convalescent plasma therapy using the Mayo Clinic’s protocols.

On Monday, Premier Health, CompuNet, began the area’s first in southwest Ohio to offer COVID-19 IgG antibody testing without a doctor’s order at its specimen collection site at UD Arena.

That test can help determine if a person was previously infected with COVID-19.

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