March 25, 2020

Lab announces increased COVID-19 testing capacity

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

TriCore Reference Laboratories announced the addition of a new machine that will double the private labs’ COVID-19 testing capacity.

The release from the City of Albuquerque’s Emergency Management said that the addition of the Abbott m2000 platform on Monday will increase the daily testing capacity from 500 to 1,000. TriCore and the New Mexico Department of Health’s labs are the two places that can process COVID-19 tests in the state.

TriCore says that it is working through a backlog of tests collected before the increased capacity; the lab says it currently has a five-day turnaround for tests.

“The TriCore team worked 24/7 to bring on this new test as soon as it was available to us,” Dr. Karissa Culbreath, Medical Director and Infectious Disease Division Chief at TriCore, said in a statement. “We continue to explore multiple avenues to help further increase COVID-19 testing capacity for New Mexico, and will keep the community updated as these efforts come to fruition.” 

As of Tuesday, the state of New Mexico reported 100 cases of COVID-19. And on Wednesday, the state reported its first death from COVID-19, which took place on Sunday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a press conference on Monday that the state was able to process about 850 tests per day; she said with regulatory approval and the proper resources, the state would be able to process thousands of tests per day.

TriCore began COVID-19 testing on March 12 and has since processed over 4,000 tests for COVID-19 and over 6,000 tests for other respiratory diseases.