By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Since the coronavirus emerged as a real threat to Wyoming residents in March, the only testing option for many counties was a process that involved sending swabs to the state health office.
But last week, it became possible for both Cody and Powell hospitals to run tests in their labs and produce results within a day, according to Doug McMillan, CEO of Cody Regional Health.
“At the state, the turnaround time is, I think, three to five days,” he said, “and the average can take longer. We’re working with Abbott, the company vendor that we work with, and they provided software to update four or five of our existing machines, and the state did provide us with one additional machine.”
Jeanine Brus, director of the lab at Cody Regional Health, said the accuracy of Park County tests have been corroborated at the state level.“We sent at least a hundred tests in tandem to the State,” she said, “and we got the exact same result that the State did.”
Brus said Cody Regional Health can can conduct up to 50 tests per day. The hospital is also conducting drive-through testing in its parking lot.
“It’s now open from 8 (a.m.) to 11 (a.m.) every day, and we’re testing asymptomatic patients (individuals who do not have symptoms),” he said. “Patients are getting calls that day, or no later than the next day, so we’re really excited about that.”
And McMillan said the same-day testing option is drawing people from beyond the Big Horn Basin.
“A family member was driving from Bozeman to come to Cody to get their test, because they’d been told it’s going to take 10 to 14 days to get the results back in Bozeman, Montana,” he said.
McMillan added that with the increase in tourism – and in the number of cases – as the summer goes on, this type of service is invaluable to locals and to visitors alike.