Lab tests photo

St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics are adding machinery to their lab which will allow them to test for COVID-19, Influenza A & B, and RSV with one swab. Funds were provided by a CARES Act grant.

COTTONWOOD — St. Mary’s Hospital lab manager, Colleen Bennett, recently announced they have been the recipient of a grant through the State of Idaho, as part of the CARES Act grant funding the state received, for $248,659. These funds will support increasing laboratory testing capacity in rural areas such those in and around Idaho and Lewis counties.

Receipt of this grant has allowed SMH to purchase a Cepheid Gene Xpert machine, one for St. Mary’s Hospital and one for Clearwater Valley Hospital. This equipment has the ability to test for COVID-19, Influenza A & B, and RSV with one swab. With flu season rapidly approaching, they anticipate the need for this type of testing to be substantial. Two hundred of these swabs (Cepheid 4-plex testing cartridges) for each hospital is included in this grant.

“We have purchased a trailer to act as mobile lab and provide services in those areas that have limited access to testing,” Bennett explained. The mobile lab will be equipped with a chair and bathroom to allow for ease of specimen collection and blood draws. Wellness checks, A1C screenings, COVID-19/Influeza/RSV and strep testing are some of the services offered with the mobile lab. The timeline to have the mobile lab operational is set for January 2021.”

The purchase of four additional Abbot ID Now instruments for St. Mary’s Hospital Clinics & Clearwater Valley Hospitals will help to expand testing capabilities in the region. One unit will be added to the Kamiah Clinic in order to facilitate rapid testing for residents and for Nimiipuu patients. A second unit will be placed in the mobile testing trailer. A third unit will be utilized at Clearwater Valley Hospital, and the fourth unit would be placed at Clearwater Valley’s Orofino Health Center. Timeline for implementation is Dec. 20.

St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals & Clinics representatives said they are proud to be leading the way for expanded care in this region and will continue to vigorously pursue their mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives.

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