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Samaritan Now Offering Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Published on: April 20, 2020

WATERTOWN, NY – Samaritan Medical Center is now offering rapid testing for COVID-19, with results for certain patients available in approximately one hour.

Samaritan’s Laboratory began rapid testing on Thursday, April 16th, after acquiring the Cepheid GeneXpert® XVI testing instrument. This instrument enables technicians to get results from a COVID-19 test in about one hour, while other lab instruments take between four and six hours. Tests that need to be sent to a reference laboratory take longer, typically one or two days.

Kathy Halaburka, Samaritan’s Laboratory Supervisor, demonstrates how the new Cepheid GeneXpert® XVI system works.

“We are proud to have such an advanced testing capability right here in our community,” said Tony Marra, Samaritan’s Director of Laboratory Services. “This investment greatly reduces testing turnaround time, which can give patients peace of mind and allow our providers to take action faster, if necessary.”

Due to the limited number of tests available only the following patients will receive rapid testing at this time: inpatients of the hospital or emergency department, residents of long-term care facilities, or other expedited cases, like healthcare workers. All other specimens will continue to be sent to the reference laboratory in New Jersey until more tests become available.

Samaritan reminds the community that its COVID-19 Resource Line – 315-755-3100 – is staffed Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. We encourage all community members who think they might need testing, have symptoms, or may have had contact with COVID-19 to call and let our professional team address your concerns.

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