From forensics to clinical
“When I decided to transition the lab from forensic to the COVID-19 testing, it was extremely, hectic and stressful, but at the same time very rewarding. We allowed our community the ability to rely on a regional lab for a quick turnaround time and a bevy of information that was going to allow the clinicians to understand exactly why someone was ill and whether they had, or had not, contracted COVID-19,” says Volk. “What we were seeing with the testing across the country and monitoring is that it was taking days, up to weeks, for a result to be returned to the clinician,” says Volk. First responders and the frontline-workforce were hit hard and were often prevented from showing up to work for fear they might have COVID-19, even when they did not. Asymptomatic cases were quite frequent, making testing nearly impossible even if someone did have the virus.
Volk was moved by helping a young family in which the wife and mother had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Since the husband was a first responder, they would need to find outside childcare for their infant and toddler if the wife needed to quarantine. “Receiving her positive test results so quickly meant they were able to make alternate arrangements promptly,” she says. “This is the type of community service I wanted Great Lakes Labs to be able to provide, and thanks to QIAGEN, now we can. Testing lets our customers know with confidence when it is safe to let their employees return to the workplace,” Volk continues. About 40 percent of Great Lakes Labs’ COVID-19 testing has been done for healthcare clients and about ten percent for members of the public. It’s these cases that have struck a special chord with Volk. “It’s been wonderful to bring peace of mind to members of the public who want to visit vulnerable relatives without the fear of introducing the virus,” she says, including out-of-town family members who wanted to know if it was safe to visit elderly or immunocompromised parents and relatives.