University of Toledo Medical Center Testing Breakthrough 

Earlier this month AFSCME Local 2415 members at The University of Toledo Medical Center are part of a team that have once again proven the hospital’s worth as a research, training and care institution by developing a COVID19 test that yields much faster results than others in use.

Before UTMC’s Pathology Lab stepped in, testing in Lucas County took up to eight days to yield results. But now, the lab at UTMC can test up to 180 samples a day and returns take 48 hours or less.

The test kit UTMC’s team of experts developed is now in use across the region.

Union member and molecular biologist Heather Kvale said there are not many hospitals like UTMC, which has its own molecular research department with funding by the National Institutes of Health.

“We have a great team of specialists and they all worked tirelessly to make this happen. I’m really glad that we were able to decrease the testing time so that people didn’t sit there in limbo,” she said.

To perfect their testing capability UTMC’s molecular diagnostics specialists had to show their test kit provided accurate results. Fortunately, the lab already had the right people, equipment and kit samples to work with.

Virtually every hospital department pitched in. The laboratory IT department was able to rapidly build the test into their system. UTMC’s phlebotomists and Medical Technologists coordinated to bring specimens into the department for testing, and the Safety and Health department worked to keep the team safe. 

“Even the Shipping and Receiving department helped coordinate our deliveries so we could stay stocked with the materials we needed to run the tests. There are so many wonderful people here at UTMC it would be impossible to name them all – we couldn’t have done it without each-and-every one of them,” Kvale said.   

According to AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito, “This is exactly why we need to keep research, teaching, and care public hospitals like UTMC. They have the people, expertise and equipment to make a difference, not just in Toledo but for all of Ohio,” he said.

Photo Credit: University of Toledo. Pictured: Back Row, Left to Right: Heather Byrd; Nichole Ortiz; Heather Kavale. Front Row, Left to Right: Michelle Lewandowski; Holly Mohon; Shauna Rasor.

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