New Mayo Clinic test could speed up the detection of COVID-19, ease burden of CDC

Published 8:25 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

By Catharine Richert, Minnesota Public Radio News


Mayo Clinic scientists said Thursday they’ve developed a new test to detect COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, that could help public health officials in their struggle to contain the outbreak.

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“This test should help ease some of the burden that is currently being felt at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health laboratories,” said Dr. William Morice president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “We are doing everything we can to help relieve the burden during this time to provide answers for patients here in Rochester and around the world.”

The clinic says the test should provide a speedy result, within 24 hours. Mayo is in the process of testing 90 samples. All positive samples will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health or the CDC for follow-up testing and confirmation.

Mayo labs hopes to expand capacity in coming weeks to partners around the country, said Mayo Clinic spokesperson Ginger Plumbo.

The announcement comes a day after Olmsted County reported its first case in a patient who tested positive after traveling abroad.

The same day, Mayo opened a drive-thru testing clinic. Patients who are concerned they have the virus must call their Mayo provider in advance. If their symptoms warrant testing, they’ll be sent to the site.