(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David on Thursday announced the City will fund the purchase of a new COVID-19 testing machine for use by United Health Services (UHS), expanding local testing capacity by as much as 1,000 tests daily and building on the partnership established between the City and UHS at the start of the pandemic.
The City will provide UHS with a Quidel Lyra® Direct testing platform, which has the ability to process up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests daily. Test results are available in less than 70 minutes. Tests run on the new platform will reduce UHS’s diagnostic costs from $100 to $28 per test.
Governor Cuomo has identified the need for investments in local labs to take pressure off major national labs and reduce reporting times.
On May 18, the Quidel Lyra Direct SARS-CoV-2 Assay received its emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The machine that runs the new test costs $70,000 and is reimbursable through the City’s CARES Act COVID-19 federal grant relief package.
Mayor Richard C. David said, “The City of Binghamton continues to lead in expanding local testing capacity and partnering with healthcare experts in responding to this pandemic. On Oct. 27, 8,298 people were tested in Tompkins County while Broome County tested 1,639. Local testing still lags behind where it needs to be. If we are better informed with health data, we can more quickly identify positive cases, initiate quarantine protocols and support residents getting healthy and back to work quickly. Increasing our testing capacity is also key to economic recovery and allowing our schools to open safely.”
John Carrigg, President and CEO of United Health Services, said, "UHS is pleased to be able to support the City of Binghamton and the larger Binghamton community in all ways possible to increase testing and treatment during these very difficult days. Providing results as quickly as possible is an important step in helping to reduce the community spread we are now experiencing.”
Dr. Tammi Ranalli, Senior Vice President, Quidel Molecular Business Unit, said, “Quidel is proud to bring our state-of-the-art Lyra® Direct real-time RT-PCR coronavirus testing technology to serve the people of Binghamton. Our partnership with the City and UHS will provide urgently needed testing that will accelerate diagnoses, contain virus spread and assist with disease surveillance.”
Mayor David first announced a COVID-19 testing partnership with UHS in May, when the City supplied UHS with a rapid, fully automated COVID-19 testing workstation developed by Rheonix, Inc., of Ithaca. UHS purchased two additional units for its organization. The workstations have been able to locally process up to 300 tests per day.
The partnership made testing immediately available to City of Binghamton first responders, essential City personnel, local healthcare workers and UHS patients. Testing was later expanded to any City employee, free of charge.
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