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Machine En Route To UC Health Will Increase COVID-19 Testing

The cobas 6800 can run more than a thousand tests every 24 hours.
The cobas 6800 can run more than a thousand tests every 24 hours.

Ohio has a shortage of tests and the ability to test for COVID-19. Southwest Ohio is particularly lacking in ability to diagnose patients. Sen. Rob Portman and UC Health say help is on the way.

UC Health is awaiting delivery of a cobas 6800 machine from the health care company Roche. The machine can produce results in about three-and-a-half hours and process up to 384 results every eight hours and more than a thousand in a 24 hour period, according to the company.

It's unclear when the machine will arrive and be operational, though Portman is hopeful it could be within a week.

Portman says UC Health contacted his office a week ago looking for help. "They indicated they had a contract with a company to provide a machine that would enable them to do significant volumes of testing and that that machine had not be delivered as promised."

He then reached out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House, he says, "to secure release of this machine." In a statement, Portman's office says UC Health was put on a waiting list after it bought the machine from Roche because of "vague federal guidance which led the manufacturer to withhold the machine."

Speaking through Portman's office, UC Health President & CEO Richard P. Lofgren, M.D. writes, "We are working to grow our capacity to test for COVID-19 within our laboratories, and as testing supplies and capacity increase, we intend to be able to provide access to testing to our larger community."

Portman calls this great news for testing in Ohio.

"We need more (testing) and we'll continue to do everything we can to get more of our Ohio institutions, like Cleveland Clinic, approved to do the testing but also as in the case here to be able to add to our testing where possible."

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