Ascension Lourdes has expanded its COVID-19 testing capacity. Lourdes can now test using three different platforms.  According to a news release from Ascension Lourdes their laboratory went live last week with a third testing platform.  This is called the Hologic Panther which lets the hospital process between 250 and 500 tests per day. Results from these tests become available within four hours.

Two other COVID-19 tests have been in use at Lourdes.  The Abbott IDNow and the BioFire provide rapid testing results.  With these tests results become available in 45 minutes or less.  A major plus in utilizing these tests is that they can be completed in the hospital lab and the tests do not have to be sent elsewhere for results.

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Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)

These tests involve the insertion of a six-inch swab into the back of a nasal passage and then repeating the procedure  in the other nostril for sampling.  The untilized swab then is taken to the lab for analyzing.

Lourdes says that a grant of $125,000 from the Decker Foundation enabled the hospital to buy an additional pair of Biofire system modules to speed up the testing process. The grant also provides funding for additional testing supplies.

In additional news from Lourdes COVID-19 antibody testing is now being done.  That shows if the individual being tested has had prior exposure to COVID-19.  These tests indicate whether the subject has had an immune response to the infection and also whether the individual had a previous infection from COVID-19 that showed few if any symptoms.  Health experts have not yet determined whether or not the presence of antibodies indicates if a person is immune to a future infection.