Private laboratories begin testing for coronavirus


HONOLULU (KHON2) — A private lab began its testing for COVID-19 on Tuesday with more labs to come online soon.

Clinical Labs of Hawaii began collecting tests for COVID-19, it is the first private lab in the state to do so.

Health officials say private lab testing can help relieve the amount of work at the state lab, while it is still up to a doctor to recommend the tests.

But now it’s about working with insurance companies to waive the fee for the testing at private labs.

“We have inquired with the major insurers in the state and most of them have said they would cover COVID-19 testing,” said Governor David Ige. “As long as it’s ordered by the doctor. That’s my understanding. On the national call with the vice president and national COVID-19 team, they announced on Monday to all of us that Medicare and Medicaid would fully cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for those in those programs that require COVID-19 testing.”

Kaiser and Diagnostic Laboratory Services could go online in about two weeks and join Clinical Labs of Hawaii in testing for COVID-19.

“One of their requirements is they validate the test,” said state laboratories division administrator Dr. Edward Desmond. “They need to have some positive control material. We have some positive samples we can share with them. We developed some agreements with them and offered also our advice and counsel to help them get started.”

As private companies work fast to expand the testing abilities for coronavirus in the American healthcare system.

“The other pathway is that there are American biotech companies that are looking for clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration,” added Desmond. “The FDA to market a kit. So once that is done they can market that and the commercial ads could buy one of those products that’s been cleared by the USDA.”

While the private lab began collecting test for COVID-19 in Hawaii. They are still having to send them to a sister lab in Texas for results which could take about three days to arrive.

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