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FSU, TMH create lab to return faster COVID test results

Lorea Arambarri, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Science, confers with Patrick Phillips, laboratory performance and improvement and quality assurance manager from Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
Lorea Arambarri, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Science, confers with Patrick Phillips, laboratory performance and improvement and quality assurance manager from Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.(Bill Lax / FSU Photography Services)
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 12:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University says it is partnering with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare to establish a temporary testing lab that will bring COVID test results in 24 hours or less.

FSU says the lab will use a new testing procedure an associate professor in the Department of Biological Science developed. TMH will provide lab personnel for the new TMH-FSU Rapid Response Laboratory.

“The ability to do this testing and quickly get results could be the difference in the ability to open things back up,” said Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander.

It’s important to note the lab is processing samples from testing sites in the area and not conducting tests for the public at the location.

FSU says the lab will be an asset for the university as it begins the fall semester. Additionally, the site will give TMH additional testing capacity for its patients. When the lab is at full capacity, it can process 1,000 samples in a day, lab workers say.

“As a leading research university, FSU brings resources to the table that will allow us at TMH to overcome supply limitations and provide for accurate and timely COVID-19 testing on a much larger scale,” said Mark O’Bryant, president and CEO of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “The initial goal of this partnership was to match FSU’s intellectual and technological assets with our commercial and regulatory expertise. Once we have successfully accomplished that, we plan to work with other community businesses to make testing more readily available.”

FSU says its Fall 2020 plan includes baseline testing for students, faculty and staff as well as retesting and, in the case of positive tests, contact tracing and quarantine.

“An in-house lab will help all of that happen faster,” the university says.

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