AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Obtaining enough COVID-19 tests was one issue, but finding a way to process them was a whole other problem.
Call it resourceful, but when labs across the area and the state were slammed with the high volume of COVID-19 test being administered, the Texas A&M vet lab stepped up.
Although they usually tests and study animal specimen, they realized they had the PCR technology needed and became a COVID-19 rapid test processing center.
Because the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory technicians were not certified to run the human COVID-19 samples, they partnered with the Physicians Preferred Laboratory who have lab technicians certified and familiar with the COVID-19 testing.
After receiving the state approval needed, the A&M vet lab technicians taught the Physicians Preferred Lab technicians how to use the equipment and so, the partnership began.
“In veterinary medicine we talk a lot about one health which is the intersection between animal health and human health and the COVID crisis was definitely a very good example of that,” said Dr. Amy Swinford, associate director at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory “Not only the negative aspects of happening in the first place, but veterinarians patterning with physicians and our staff and their staff working together to provide human testing where is it really crucially needed.”
She adds the people working these labs are unsung heroes, as their work allowed for faster turn around for tests administered around here.
“We ended up providing services for the drive thru clinic at the City of Amarillo, and we also provided services for the state overflow, they have a lab in Lubbock that was pretty overwhelmed and we were able to provided some overflow capacity for them.” said Charlyn Snow, Practice administrator at Amarillo Pathology Group and Physicians Preferred Laboratory.
Snow says the demand for testing has been declining.
“The busiest month we had was in November, we did about seven thousand tests that month. By December it was about 36 hundred, January 16 hundred,” said Snow “So, we are seeing a decline in what you see as far as reported positive results and number of cases and hospitalizations. It is declining for us as well, I think we will see about a thousand reports this month, much different to November.”
Both Swinford and Snow say despite all the tragedy brought on by the pandemic, the service they have been able to provide during these months has been gratifying.