Madison organizations step up COVID-19 testing

Many organizations in the Madison area are stepping up to help with all parts of the process...
Many organizations in the Madison area are stepping up to help with all parts of the process when it comes to COVID-19 testing(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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Many agencies in Madison are expanding their work when testing for COVID-19. This follows an

from Gov. Evers on Monday.

Until this week, only people who were at high risk and showing symptoms were screened for the virus.

"We are now going to be able to offer testing to people who are symptomatic, but are not having severe symptoms, who may not necessarily be high risk," UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof said. "It helps us understand the prevalence of the disease in the community, but two, it allows us to contact trace."

Healthcare workers are typically the ones doing that contact tracing, by asking the patient a series of questions, and then tracking down who that patient came in contact with. From there, the contact tracer will see if any of those people are exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

"We get the questions, 'do you think you're going to get there?' We have to," Promega’s General Manager of North America Sara Mann said.

Companies like Promega, in Madison, are helping meet the growing demand for tests. Employees also consult with labs and send other products to hospitals around the globe.

"We provide the chemicals that allow the researcher to get that material and use it in a way that informs them if they have COVID-19 or not," Mann said.

The chemicals produced at Promega are found in 26 different COVID testing kits that are sent all over the world.

"So even if we're not sending them the direct products for the direct ingredients they may use to run protocols, we're also in other testing kits they might be using," Mann said.

Some other Madison companies are also contributing. Epic has a hand in sending lab results and Exact Sciences performs the lab tests.