BOSTON (CBS) — Coronavirus testing capacity in Massachusetts will increase significantly starting next week, state health officials announced Friday. They said the state lab should be able to double its testing capacity and that two private labs have been given federal approval to begin coronavirus testing.
“Beginning sometime next week, we will actually be able to double the capacity of testing at our state lab from about 200 a day to 400 a day, with additional automation going in this weekend,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.
Additionally, Sudders said, two commercial labs, LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, have received federal approval for coronavirus testing, allowing them to support the state lab and expedite the testing process.
“It is important that more labs be approved by the federal government and come online in Massachusetts,” she said. “We continue to encourage the FDA and CDC to help us expand our testing capacity so that we can test more residents across the commonwealth.”
Gov. Charlie Baker also made a plea for the federal government to help increase testing capacity. “I don’t think the feds are moving quickly enough,” he said.
LabCorp released a statement on its testing Thursday: “We are working closely with the CDC, FDA and others on a swift response to address this public health crisis. Our team is proud to play an important role as part of an industry consortium that is working every day to meet the growing demand for national testing. Our utmost concern is for the safety of the public, patients, healthcare service providers, and our employees.”
Both LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics said that patients should not go to their facilities to be tested or pick up test results. They said that this must be done through a healthcare provider.
Logan Express Bus Driver Robert Dasguta is in self-quarantine because he says he feels sick. He’s usually in touch with air passengers on a daily basis for his job. Despite feeling sick, he was denied coronavirus testing.
“It’s just not being provided for a lot of people,” Dasguta said.
Beginning next week on Wednesdays at noon, the health department will begin posting testing data online, including the number of people tested overall and the number of people who tested positive.