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KRH offering advanced COVID-19 testing through new technology

Posted at 4:27 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 18:27:03-05

KALISPELL — Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) is the first hospital in Montana to offer advanced COVID-19 testing through new technology in an in-house molecular lab.

KRH officials say the new testing platform benefits the community with increased access to COVID-19 testing and accurate, timely results.

KRH Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Jeff Tjaden says the platform uses a PCR test to detect genetic material of the virus and is highly accurate compared to antigen tests.

Dr. Tjaden says the in-house lab means rapid turnaround results, instead of having to send PCR testing to remote labs. He added the specialized equipment allows the hospital to test up to 100 samples at a time.

“For instance, last week we ran 3,300 samples just in our own hospital so that really gives us capabilities to do pretty large numbers of testing not only for this virus but potentially for other viruses or other diseases as they emerge and things from that,” Dr. Tjaden said.

KRH officials say the new platform was able to perform nearly 800 tests in one day.

Components for the in-house molecular lab began arriving at the end of the summer, and the equipment was installed and fully operational in October.