Pri­mary Hawaii virus test­ing lab loses ser­vices of sup­plier

The Maui News - - News -

HONOLULU (AP) — One of Hawaii’s largest COVID-19 test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries lost its con­ti­nen­tal U.S. sup­plier of chem­i­cals needed to con­tinue to run tests.

Di­ag­nos­tic Lab­o­ra­tory Ser­vices Inc. will no longer re­ceive reagents and other sup­plies from Roche Di­ag­nos­tics Corp., one of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers of equip­ment and sup­plies for COVID-19 test­ing, The Honolulu Star-Ad­ver­tiser re­ported Wed­nes­day.

Dr. Scott Mis­covich, who leads broad test­ing ef­forts across the is­lands, said the sup­ply loss means means the state’s test­ing ca­pac­ity has been cut in half to about 2,500 daily.

Roche Di­ag­nos­tics has been forced to di­rect sup­plies to hos­pi­tals in states where the in­ten­sive care units are be­ing over­run with thou­sands of new cases daily, in­clud­ing Ari­zona, Florida and Texas, Mis­covich said.

“With the surge on the main­land they’re steer­ing to­wards their big cus­tomers,” Mis­covich said.

Di­ag­nos­tic Lab­o­ra­tory Ser­vices Pres­i­dent Mark Wasielewsk­i said he is dev­as­tated the com­pany can­not as­sist with more test­ing as needs rise in Hawaii.

The com­pany’s ca­pac­ity for COVID-19 test­ing has been re­duced from 800 tests per day to 250 tests daily, he said.

“Non-pri­or­ity test­ing will be sent to main­land lab­o­ra­to­ries that may take up to 10 days to per­form tests,” Wasielewsk­i said, not­ing the com­pany con­tin­ues to ex­plore ways to boost its test­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“If reagents can be sup­plied to our ca­pac­ity, DLS would be able to per­form 2,000 tests per day based on the equip­ment our com­pany cur­rently has in Hawaii,” he said.

Other lab­o­ra­to­ries, in­clud­ing Clin­i­cal Labs of Hawaii, are work­ing to­gether to ad­dress the state’s test­ing needs, es­pe­cially for the most crit­i­cal, hos­pi­tal­ized pa­tients, Mis­covich said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, this may cause the re­turn of the re­sults to be mul­ti­ple days in­stead of the 24-hour turn­around,” Mis­covich said.

For most peo­ple, the coro­n­avirus causes mild or mod­er­ate symp­toms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — es­pe­cially older adults and peo­ple with ex­ist­ing health prob­lems — it can cause more se­vere ill­ness, in­clud­ing pneu­mo­nia and death.

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