Testing over 400 per day now; also has antibody test ready to launch
Kaleida Health announced it has expanded its laboratory testing capability for COVID-19, adding essential workers.
Essential workers, as defined by New York state, include but are not limited to: utilities, transportation, hotels, food processing, building cleaning and maintenance, child care services, auto repair, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware and building material stores.
Those that are in need of a COVID-19 test (symptomatic with fever more than 100 degrees, cough, shortness of breath), can visit the Kaleida Health website (www.Kaleidahealth.org) and answer a series of screening questions.
Important to note that a prescription is required. Testing is done at two central sites and results can be returned in about 48 hours.
Working together with the Erie County Department of Health, this is the third expansion of testing for Kaleida Health’s labs, as they first focused on symptomatic/critical patients and front line hospital workers.
Next, the organization added fellow community hospital system employees from the Catholic Health System, the VA, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and ECMC, as well as first responders from Buffalo Fire, Buffalo Police as well paramedics/EMTs from AMR Ambulance, Twin City and volunteer fire/EMS companies.
Next, the Kaleida Health labs (headquartered on Flint Road in Williamsville) expect to begin testing the general public who have been deemed symptomatic by their primary care doctor and have received a prescription to obtain testing.
In addition to this diagnostic antigen testing the laboratories are currently offering, Kaleida Health has also received the coveted “rapid antibody” test kits from Abbott Inc. that are currently undergoing validation. The test is a serology test and can be a critical next step in battling this virus.
Abbott announced its release Wednesday, saying, “The test helps to detect the IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2. An antibody is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered. Detecting these IgG antibodies will help determine if a person was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The utility for these tests is still being determined by state and federal agencies. Once that guidance is published by the government regulators, Kaleida Health is well positioned and will begin offering this test to the appropriate sub groups/populations.
The new antibody test is to be used on Abbott's ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments, which can run up to200 tests per hour.
As the situation with COVID-19 has evolved, areas all over the country have tried to keep up with the demand for testing.
Since March 16, the Kaleida Health Laboratories team has analyzed over 3,200 COVID-19 tests. In mid-March, dozens of tests a day were analyzed, but now, the labs have the capacity to process over 400 tests a day.
For testing questions, the Kaleida Health coronavirus hotline remains open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 716-859-3222 or visit www.kaleidahealth.org.