Austin lab expects to turn around thousands of COVID-19 test kits per week


AUSTIN (KXAN) – The machines in Austin’s Sonic Reference Laboratory look a lot like printers you’d see in an office.

In reality, the machines are processing 600 COVID-19 tests every day.

That number is expected to go up, as the company Sonic Healthcare USA says it plans to run thousands of kits every week at its Clinical Pathology Lab beginning on Tuesday.

It’s an effort that the company has been ramping up for weeks.

“This is by no way comparable to almost anything we’ve experienced in our careers in pathology and laboratory medicine,” said Dr. Jerry Hussong, CEO of Sonic Healthcare USA.

Dr. Hussong says its Sonic Reference Lab has been receiving test samples from patients locally, in Texas and even out-of-state.

“The demand is ramping up, as you can imagine,” Dr. Hussong said.

But the company says it anticipates meeting the demand of thousands of tests per week and expects to turn around results in 1-3 days.

Private companies such as Sonic Healthcare USA have been working around the clock to meet the need for testing in Texas.

The state of Texas has nine public health labs around the state, with another soon coming to Corpus Christi.

A spokesperson with the Texas Department of State Health Services tells KXAN the state had processed 220 kits at these labs, as of last week.

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