Humboldt County COVID-19 testing capacity tripled

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) – With a new piece of equipment paid for by state and federal grant funding, the Humboldt County Public Health Lab will nearly triple its capacity to conduct COVID-19 testing.

The lab currently processes about 85 test samples per day, but with the Kingfisher Flex by Thermo-Fisher Scientific the lab will be able to run up to 250 test samples per day.

The machine automates the extraction of RNA, which is the genetic material that allows microbiologists to determine if a patient has markers of COVID-19.

With funding from the California Department of Public Health Community Surveillance Grant and the CARES Act, the county was able to make the $73,000 Kingfisher Flex purchase.

The State of California also provided $150,000 worth of reagents, allowing the lab to run $4,000 samples with the machine.

Lab Manager Jeremy Corrigan says adding this new COVID-19 test and automated extraction platform is a game changer for our county.

The county anticipates this new method will be utilized by the end of August, when the machine is operational and staff are full trained in its use.