Birmingham pathology lab one of first in Alabama to test for COVID-19

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A privately-owned pathology lab in Birmingham is one of the first in the area to be able to test for the novel coronavirus.

Kits were sent out on Thursday, and now Red Mountain Diagnostics is waiting on the first orders to come in from local hospitals.

Up until recently, the CDC was handling all testing for the coronavirus. Due to the high request rate for testing, the CDC implemented strict guidelines before a test could be administered. Now, with testing kits becoming more widely available, that’s changing.

Doctors at Red Mountain Diagnostics say it is one of the only places in the Birmingham area prepared to test for the coronavirus now.

“We have geared up to perform for coronavirus,” Dr. Don Simmons said. “Most people received their kits late last week, and that includes a number of hospitals and laboratories in the area, including ours.”

Physicians administer the test the same way as the flu, with a nasal swab at your doctor’s office.

“You take the swab out and stick it in this vial transport, put the cap on and send it to us,” Dr. Simmons said.

Red Mountain Diagnostics works with a dozen area hospitals, completing hundreds of tests for various viruses each day.

With COVID-19 testing becoming more accessible, Dr. Simmons says he expects them to be administered much more.

“Anyone that is symptomatic will get tested, presumably, for the virus. That will obviously change as the dynamics of the infection work its way out.”

The doctors at Red Mountain Diagnostics say it will take roughly 24 hours for testing to be completed; and if there is a massive need for testing, their lab is ready.


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