New.equipment.designed to expedite COVID-19 testing has been set up in the Microbiology Lab at the Ouellette Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital.
The Cepheid's GeneXpert machine was unboxed and set up by the vendor, InterMedico, on Friday, October 23rd, much to the delight of hospital officials who are anxious to begin using the machine to test patients suspected of having COVID-19.
"This is huge, it is going to impact patient care, especially inpatients here immensely in a positive way," says Lucy Di Pietro, Technical Coordinator of Microbiology and Specimen Procurement at the Ouellette Campus. "That is the most important thing. We want to make sure we can supply those results to the units, to the physicians for those patients who need the results as quickly as possible."
Once a test sample is received in the laboratory, the results will be known within the hour.
But before testing can begin, Medical Laboratory Technologists must be trained in the use of the instrument and the instrument must be validated by testing known samples to verify performance.
The hospital will receive test samples from Public Health Ontario, for validation and whose results are already known. The hospital lab will test those samples in the GeneXpert to ensure the results are the same.
"When you validate a new piece of equipment, it is very important to make sure everything is working properly," says Di Pietro. "You don't just put it in, set it up, and start running samples. That cannot be done in a laboratory, so we run a validation to make sure the instrument is testing properly and we can get the same results on a known set of panel samples that someone else has already tested."
The machine and test kits will be able to test for COVID-19 along with Flu A, B, and RSV.
Validation could take up to a couple of weeks but Di Pietro says it will be well worth the wait. Until then, local test samples will continue to go to London.
Once testing begins on the GeneXpert, it will affect bed allocation, what unit the patient will be transferred to, as well as the amount of personal protective equipment the hospital is utilizing.
As of now, Windsor Regional Hospital will be allocated 200 test samples per week, which may be adjusted in the future as more test reagents become available.
The province will pick up the cost of operating the GeneXpert, however the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation is seeking donations to support the purchase. To donate, please visit www.wrh.on.ca/support
1995 Lens Avenue, Windsor, ON N8W 1L9
1030 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, ON N9A 1E1