Coronavirus: Northwell Health Lab on Long Island begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19

LAKE SUCCESS, Long Island (WABC) -- Northwell Health Labs, one of nation's largest health system-run diagnostic labs located on Long Island, on Wednesday announced the start of semi-automated COVID-19 testing at its 100,000-square-foot diagnostic facility.

The facility in Lake Success will now be able to process hundreds of tests daily, greatly increasing the health system's ability to screen symptomatic New Yorkers for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Through an emergency use authorization submitted Tuesday night to the US Food & Drug Administration, the lab now has approval to move immediately from manual testing to the lab's semi-automated molecular diagnostic system.

Labs Executive Director Dr. Dwayne Breining said the transition from manual to semi-automated testing will allow highly-skilled technicians to go from processing 90 samples a day to hundreds with the help of experts from GenMark Diagnostics and its comprehensive, multiplex panel ePlex machines.

The lab is using a test developed and approved by the New York State Department of Health.

As a next step, the lab is seeking FDA approval to fully automate the process, which would give it the capability to process more than 1,000 tests daily.

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