Lane County hopes testing machines will help speed up COVID-19 results

Even with the new machines, the chemicals needed to do tests will still be limited.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 6:18 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With limited supplies slowing coronavirus testing, Lane County Public Health officials say they are looking to get machines that can produce test results in minutes.

Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis said the chemicals used in testing are in high demand. He said supplies that Oregon was going to get had been redirected to New York City where hospitals are overflowing with cases.

Davis said the decision was made on the federal and state level. He said they will continue to advocate for resources but knows they need to be good partners with the rest of the country.

"Fortunately, we are still in a spot, Lane County wise, where our medical systems are not being overrun," Davis said. "We are still at a manageable rate of infection, and so we can absorb a slow down in some of these areas."

Right now, five labs are doing testing for COVID-19 in Oregon and getting those results can take days. But Davis said they have been speaking with a company to get machines here locally.

Davis said the machines can give positive results in as little as five minutes, and negative results in 13 minutes.

A Californa-based company makes rapid testing machines. Davis said they would put the machines in hospitals, doctors' offices, and other care facilities.

Davis sad they are in line to get some once they become available, and it could happen as early as next week.

Morgan Rich works at the Goodyear tire store. He said his hours have been cut in half and he is hoping for a solution.

"All the things I have saved up for, all that the stuff that I have worked up for is down the toilet now," Rich said. "So we're in desperate need of a solution. We are in desperate need for these tests."

​Davis said the machines could expand the criteria of who gets tested.

But with chemicals needed to do the testing in short supply, he said it wouldn't mean tens of thousands of people getting tested, but possibly hundreds.

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