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Mayo Clinic increasing lab testing capacity for COVID-19

Right now, labs at Mayo Clinic can perform 4,000 tests each day.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 6:18 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Researchers and staff at Mayo Clinic are working 24-7 to get people tested for the coronavirus.

Right now, their labs can perform 4,000 tests each day.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt is a clinical microbiologist at Mayo Clinic. She said the plan is to expand that by at least another thousand specimens.

Mayo Clinic has already developed their own test and brought on a second test by another manufacturer. Later this week, Dr. Pritt said they plan to bring in a third.

The tests all do the same thing, they're just made by different people.

"We hope that by increasing capacity, we can continue to meet demands," Dr. Pritt said. "And first hit those high-priority patients, but then also expand to other patients who also have signs and symptoms of COVID-19."

One of the biggest challenges health care facilities are facing is a shortage of supplies. That includes everything from masks and gowns to nasal swabs and other testing supplies.

Dr. Pritt said Mayo Clinic is developing contingency plans for these shortages, as well as to keep the work going in case any employees get sick.

"We're trying to do our best to help our patients but yet stay well ourselves," Dr. Pritt said. "Myself as a leader in the laboratory, I'm really concerned about the well being of my staff."

Dr. Pritt said it's been a team effort for testing. They have the goal of a 24-hour turnaround time for all test results.

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