Testing times for Mount Isa

MAJOR miner Glencore has secured a $45,000 COVID-19 testing machine for the Mount Isa Hospital that eliminates the need to fly COVID-19 nasal swab samples to Brisbane or Townsville for analysis, and cuts the waiting time for results down from three and a half days to just three hours.
Testing times for Mount Isa Testing times for Mount Isa Testing times for Mount Isa Testing times for Mount Isa Testing times for Mount Isa

Mt Isa Hospital now has on-site COVID-19 test analysis equipment.

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Glencore general manager for health, safety, environment and community Maryann Wipaki said the vital medical testing equipment would improve testing capability with a rapid test result.

The new GeneXpert IV-4 instrument, cartridge and nasal swab collection kit was welcomed by North West Hospital and Health Service acting CEO Dr Karen Murphy, who said while cartridges were still in short supply, the machine would be crucial for diagnosing urgent cases.

"Previously, testing for COVID-19 has been dependent on airlines and external labs, but with this equipment funded by Glencore, we now have the safety net that we deserve in North West Queensland," Murphy said.

"Quicker turnaround times and testing closer to home is critical to rural and remote locations and, in particular, our vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."

Mount Isa Hospital emergency department director Dr Ulrich Orda said the machine would also be an asset long-term.

"It can analyse other respiratory viruses, staph infections, influenza A and B, and some sexually transmitted diseases, so it has further application beyond the Coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"Prompt diagnosis means we can start treatment immediately, isolate the patient, and curb potential exposure to the community."