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London Health Sciences Centre surpasses 1-million mark for processing COVID-19 tests

Click to play video: 'Ontario government criticized for low COVID-19 testing in schools' Ontario government criticized for low COVID-19 testing in schools
Ontario’s education minister is facing criticism for the relatively small number of students and teachers tested for COVID-19 in schools. – Mar 3, 2021

The London Health Sciences Centre has passed an impressive milestone, having processed one million COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago.

The joint venture between the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (PaLM) team at LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care London first began COVID-19 lab testing within LHSC’s microbiology program on March 18, 2020.

The initiative, which started to help add capacity to the provincial laboratory testing system and support the needs of the southwest region, was able to ramp up capacity and expand partnerships.

“As a team, we’re not just proud of the throughput we’ve accomplished, we’re also proud of what that represents,” said Mike Kadour, chief laboratory officer at LHSC.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,616 new COVID-19 cases, but lowest daily testing in several months

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Kadour said through their testing, they have helped collect the information needed for health officials and politicians to make important health decisions for the safety of the community.

Over the last year, the lab increased capacity from 50 tests per day to 3,000 and then the current level, which is 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day, in addition to screening all positive tests for variants of concern.

The one million tests in just a year are the equivalent of 200 years of normal seasons of influenza testing.

“To have made that kind of contribution more than a million times feels particularly meaningful for us,” Kadour said.

Through the pandemic, PaLM expanded its regional collaboration to include seven public health units, long-term care/retirement home operators and primary care providers.

“The innovation, expertise, and adaptability within our teams has truly resulted in the delivery of exceptional service to our communities during this incredibly challenging time,” Kadour said.

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