After Ithaca-based Rheonix received approval from the Food and Drug Administration on a same-day testing turnaround method for COVID-19 results, they have now formed a partnership with Cayuga Health to introduce the testing to Tompkins County.
Rheonix was granted authorization from the FDA yesterday, and can now use a "rapid sample-to-answer" test system which "enables the fully automated detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, directly from respiratory samples." Rheonix, which is based out of Cornell, designed the device that conducts the testing.
“We are thrilled to team with Rheonix, located right here in Ithaca. Their technology and expertise has enabled us to be able to provide same day results for COVID-19 testing – one of the quick, test turnaround times in our region,” states Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "We were successful with opening one of the first COVID-19 drive through sampling centers in our state and will continue to do what it takes to fight this epidemic and meet the healthcare needs of our community, right here.”
Testing turnaround has been one of the main obstacles of speedy COVID-19 response, as testing routinely takes between 3-5 days, and even that is a reduction from its previous norms.
“I am incredibly happy to be able to support Cayuga Health – Rheonix’s hometown health system – with their fight against this COVID-19 pandemic by giving them the ability to provide same day test results to their patients,” said Greg Galvin, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rheonix Inc. “Because our fully automated system is so easy to deploy and operate, it’s a perfect solution for rapid testing in hospitals like Cayuga Health,” adds Galvin. “The faster people can get diagnosed, the faster they can get treated, and the faster we can turn the corner on this pandemic.”
“We typically see between 150-250 patients a day at the sampling center and before implementing the Rheonix system it could take a few days to get the test results back,” stated Dr. Elizabeth Plocharczyk, Specialist in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at Cayuga Health. “Until now, we had been sending the samples to a large commercial lab for testing. With this new test method we can process around 200 samples per day, right here in the hospital. ”
The Cayuga Health/Tompkins County Sampling Center, which opened March 24, is available for drive through testing from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday. People can pre-register for testing at www.cayugahealth.org and review the screening criteria.
In addition, a call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to Internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register prior to coming to the site.
As directed by Governor Cuomo, COVID-19 testing is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.