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Monroe lab looking to start testing for COVID-19 this week



MONROE, La. – A Monroe clinical lab is setting up to start testing for COVID-19. This would be the first testing facility in northeast Louisiana.

Trey Fluitt, CEO of Specialty Drug Testing, says they’re partnering with the state health department to start the testing. “They’re wanting to attack this right away and not taking it for granted by no means,” Fluitt says.

“Being that the private sector is now involved with it and we’re able to get the supplies we need, we’re able to knock this in the head fairly quickly.”

Fluitt says their lab is state-of-the-art with full automation, which will help them test more people. “We feel like we can push out between 800 and 1200 samples a day. We’re going to 24/7 staff here. We’re going to be stretched thin, but we can make it. We are committed. We are dedicated to do whatever we have to do.”

That will also speed up the turnaround time on receiving results from each test. Those results will also be seen in real-time from local clinics to the state health department and even the CDC.

“They have a real-time portal that as soon as the results come off the instruments, it automatically goes straight to them. They can receive it either by fax, email or go to the portal, or if we’re interfaced with them, it goes straight to their EMR.”

Fluitt says they’re hoping to get started soon, but they’re still looking for supplies like masks and gloves and the reagents necessary to for the testing. “We’re making phone calls all over the country and pulling whatever favors we are trying to scrap up what reagents that we can use on the testing to get this up and going.”

When they do get it going, Fluitt is confident they’ll be able to handle all the number of cases of COVID-19 that are expected to rise in the coming weeks. “There’s no doubt in my mind, we will knock this thing in the head. With the way the federal government has taken charge, the way our state government has, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Louisianan today.”

Fluitt says they hope to start testing on Wednesday.