Mayo Clinic ramping up COVID-19 testing capabilities

The Mayo Clinic is ramping up its COVID-19 capabilities.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt is a Physician and Clinical Microbiologist at Mayo and is on the front lines of COVID-19 testing for the Rochester-based healthcare heavyweight.

“Our local testing percent positive rate is below 2 percent, so it’s here in our community, but certainly not at its peak, but we do anticipate that will be the case,” she said.

According to the statewide numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health, various labs have now run nearly 11,500 COVID-19 tests with 287 testing positive.

The Mayo Clinic and its significant capabilities recently helped the state clear a backlog of pending tests.

Dr. Pritt said their lab facilities can now process 4,000 tests a day and the goal is to have that number at five or six thousand by the end of the week.

“We realize there are a lot of people throughout the state and nation that still need testing,” she said. “We are working day and night to try to meet those demands.”

In addition to their testing capabilities, in early February, Mayo came up with its own test for detecting the fast-moving disease that has killed across the globe.

Dr. Pritt said the healthcare provider is still following state and federal guidance on who to test.

“You don’t necessarily need to test everyone,” Pritt said. “Certainly, you want to test the folks at risk of having severe disease so you know what you’re treating. Patients that need to be hospitalized. It’s also important to know if healthcare workers infected as you’re worried about their health and don’t want it inadvertently spread to other people.”

At Mayo Clinic it only took three weeks to come up with a COVID-19 test, while experts say it usually takes three to six months to do so elsewhere.