Fresno State is now pitching in to help process coronavirus testings and is setting labs to do so in earnest. The coronavirus has led to over close to two million infected individuals, as well as 120,000 deaths. With that, the governments are eager to escalate the means on how to detect and contain the spread effectively.
Fresno is Stepping Up
Fresno has opened up a temporary lab that will process coronavirus tests for Fresno County, and it is located in Jordan Agricultural Research Center. However, it will not be collecting swamp samples from patients. Instead, the technicians will conduct several complex biological testings on swab specimens to determine if the patient is positive or negative for COVID-19.
Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County's interim health officer, had this to say, "We're offering some of the same technology that's being used by other lab partners in the public health lab network," and stated the county's Monday afternoon update.
She then said, "We actually have a lot of lab expertise here in terms of technicians and directors, and we finally now have received some hardware where we could put our expertise to work locally in collaboration with the biological departments of Fresno State."
The lab will be analyzing over 40 to 60 specimens every day. County and the university officials will be revealing more news come Tuesday, but Vohra has said the news was "exciting."
Why Just Now?
As of this time of writing, Fresno County has relied on Tulare County Public Health Department's lab as well as Quest Diagnostics' private lab to process test results on behalf of them, until now.
The United States is facing a shortage of facilities that can test samples at ample time, and this is one of the reasons why the temporary lab has been erected to help stave the problem. Fresno County residents, in particular, expressed concerns and frustrations regarding the delayed time for the results to come through.
Vohra had this to say about the issue, "What we envision is that we can actually increase our capacity, our throughput, and most importantly that turnaround time, which I know I've publicly grieved about before," and also added, "We're hoping that we can get that turnaround time reduced as much as possible by having local lab capacity here, and therefore give people the answers that they seek about their COVID-19 status."
There are over 222 Fresno County residents who were tested positive for COVID-19. So far, the health departments have tracked over 3,200 test results, but the problem there is that they did not receive all the negative test results processed by the private labs.