JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax got an inside look at UF Health Jacksonville’s clinical laboratory, where microbiologists are conducting COVID-19 tests for their patients, staff members and the public.
Walk-up testing this week is taking place at UF Health’s Brentwood Family Medicine Clinic, where patients who are concerned that they have COVID-19 wait in line before they are screened and given a nasal swab.
The tests are then transported to UF Health’s clinical lab, where microbiologists determine how quickly the test results are needed.
“So depending on the severity of the patient, or perhaps if they are having a procedure or they need to be roomed, then we can test them on their rapid tests,” said microbiologist Amanda Goglia.
The rapid COVID-19 testing machine can produce results in 45 minutes. It’s a relatively new piece of technology that’s capable of conducting eight tests at a time.
But in cases where there is no rush to get the results back, the tests are placed inside another machine.
“All we have to do is get the sample, and we put it right here on this input rack right here. And it goes on the instrument, and the instrument does all the processing. It puts in the reagents and it does a complete extraction, and once the extraction is done, it goes through the chain reaction in that side of the instrument,” Goglia explained.
This testing instrument can process up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests a day, but health officials at UF Health say they are only allocated to 193 tests a day. Each one of those tests is critical in determining a patient’s path forward.
”I think it’s important, especially in symptomatic patients, to know if they actually have infection. Asymptomatic folks, it’s a little bit harder to tell because they may or may not have developed enough virus to be detected yet," said Yvette McCarter, with the UF Health Department of Pathology.
UF Health is continuing its community testing through the week, with more public testing sites possible in the future. It invited News4Jax into its lab today as part of National Laboratory Week.