Fresno State lab to begin testing COVID-19 samples, aiming to decrease testing wait times

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State will soon take an active role in helping people learn whether they have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Lab technicians at the Jordan Agricultural Research Center at Fresno State are set to improve the turnaround time for patients to get their test results back.

To start, between 40 and 60 samples a day will be handled here.

"The on-campus laboratory will only receive and house collected specimens, as swab tests continue to be conducted off-site," said Fresno State President Joseph Castro.

Right now, many swabs collected by private labs are sent out of Fresno County to Tulare County, or even the state lab in Richmond, to be tested. That makes the wait time longer.

"We will be able to test dozens of specimens every day on people who will rapidly know whether or not they have the COVID infection, and that will actually guide many different decisions related to their medical care," said Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

Dr. Vohra believes the lab fills a significant need. Fresno State is partnering with Fresno County to provide the services, and the county bought the lab equipment.

"I cannot stress the importance that Fresno State has been on this deal, to actually let us in here and let us use it," said Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes.

President Castro says the facility provides a much-needed resource during this time of crisis.

Dr. Vohra and lab technicians hope to begin analyzing swab samples later this week.

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