20,000 tests and counting: Lismore lab's COVID fight
NSW Health Pathology's Lismore lab recently surpassed 20,000 COVID-19 tests as they help in the fight against the coronavirus for our local community.
Despite averaging 300 tests a day, Glenn Hawkins, the manager of microbiology at NSW Health Pathology's Lismore laboratory, said the lab could scale up if needed.
"Our laboratory is currently averaging around 300 diagnostic COVID-19 tests per day, however we have the capacity to test up to 400, if needed," he said.
"We test COVID-19 patient samples collected at NSW Health public hospitals and mobile clinics as far south as Grafton, up to Tweed Heads and across to the coast."
Mr Hawkins said the milestone was a testament to the hard work of the staff at the Lismore laboratory.
"Our staff are working hard, they're quite proud of the work we're doing for the community," he said.
The testing process involves a high level of skill which is aided by technology.
"There's quite a lot of work initially when the samples arrive, (we've) got to do data entry and numbering and allocate them to priority groups, we put the sample into a cassette and from there it's taken over by robotics," Mr Hawkins said.
"One machine concentrates and purifies the viral DNA and then in the second process it'll amplify and detect if there's any viral DNA present."
Local COVID-19 testing is vital to help ensure fast turnaround in results and for better COVID-19 protection.
For further efficiency, NSW Pathology is urging everyone to register for their SMS Results Service when getting tested to ensure quick wait times.
"Doing testing on-site allows us to decrease the time to result … and if people sign up for the SMS alert, they'll get that result very quickly."