W.Va. National Guard First In Country To Launch Mobile Testing Unit
The U.S. Department of Defense has approved the West Virginia National Guard to launch America’s first coronavirus mobile testing lab.
The lab is designed to provide rapid results in emerging hot spots like a nursing home.
In a press release, the Guard said the units can be deployed within 45 minutes of receiving the request. Upon arrival , it takes about 60 minutes to set up and calibrate the machine. From there the initial test result can be produced in less than 15 minutes.
The mobile lab does have limits, though. The machine that analyzes the test can only manage about 4 samples an hour so if large scale testing is needed, the samples will likely be sent to a regular lab.
The two mobile labs are currently stationed in Charleston and Morgantown, but are beginning to travel around the state.
The lab was the brainchild of West Virginia National Guard first lieutenant Samantha Fabien. Fabien is also a doctoral candidate studying genetics and developmental biology.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.