New lab equipment at Interior Health speeds up COVID-19 test processing | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

33.2°C

Kelowna News

New lab equipment at Interior Health speeds up COVID-19 test processing

Members of the KGH Panther Team (left to right): Angella Knight, Maxwell McLaughlin, Stephanie Chabot, Kendra Soukeroff, Dr. Amanda Wilmer, Dr. Melissa Caza.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Interior Health
January 08, 2021 - 10:13 AM

Hospital laboratories in Kamloops and Kelowna are operating with new equipment that has nearly doubled their ability to process COVID-19 testing samples.

New pieces of equipment led to a massive increase in the number of COVID-19 tests that are able to be processed at Kelowna General Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, according to an Interior Health press release issued yesterday, Jan. 7.

The new Panther fusion instruments, laboratory machines that have increased the capacity for each hospital to perform testing on COVID-19 samples, have increased the health authority's ability to process samples from about 900 in a day to more than 1,600, according to Interior Health.

READ MORE: The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Friday, Jan. 8, 2021

To make room for the new technology, renovations had to take place at both sites and a wide array of employees are credited for their perseverance to get the job done in quick order.

The KGH lab increased its size by 1,200 square feet. The project would normally have taken roughly nine months to complete, was finished in nine weeks to allow for the Panther.

RIH team members celebrate the opening of the new Panther Fusion testing instrument. From left to right: Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony is (L to R) Dr. Rehan, medical microbiologist, Deb Eckert, operations supervisor, Laura Smith, tech lead micro, Shelley Sanders, and Lindsey Eastman.
RIH team members celebrate the opening of the new Panther Fusion testing instrument. From left to right: Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony is (L to R) Dr. Rehan, medical microbiologist, Deb Eckert, operations supervisor, Laura Smith, tech lead micro, Shelley Sanders, and Lindsey Eastman.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Interior Health

“This is what you can accomplish when this is everyone’s top priority. It was really breaking down silos to make this happen. It was a huge feat at both sites. To see whole groups of people coming together to support the labs was amazing,” says Hope Byrne, director of lab operations for the Okanagan, in the press release.

At Royal Inland Hospital where there was already a first-generation Panther in place, renovations had to be made to a tight space to accommodate the new Panther as well as a biological safety cabinet.

Among the teams that worked to bring the project to fruition were lab managers and employees, medical microbiologists, infection prevention and control, work place health and safety, capital planning and projects as well as the contractors who worked on the renovations.

READ MORE: COVID-19 restrictions extended to Feb. 5 in B.C. to 'hold the line'

“There was a big effort that went into increasing our capacity to test COVID-19 samples and making sure our communities stay safe,” says Hope. “It’s a credit to the dedication of the teams involved to provide this enhanced testing to patients in Interior Health."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021
iNFOnews

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile