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New diagnostic testing laboratory dedicated to processing WNC COVID-19 tests

New diagnostic testing laboratory dedicated to processing WNC COVID-19 tests

Dogwood Health Trust is partnering with Sanesco International Inc. to launch a new diagnostic testing laboratory, CommunityLab, dedicated to processing coronavirus tests conducted in Western North Carolina. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Two local community partners are coming together to launch a new COVID_19 testing lab in the mountains.

Dogwood Health Trust is partnering with Sanesco International Inc. to launch a new diagnostic testing laboratory, CommunityLab, dedicated to processing coronavirus tests conducted in Western North Carolina.

CommunityLab will allocate most of its resources to support the demand for COVID-19 testing in the region, including 10 percent of testing to serve the uninsured, as well as rural, underserved and minority populations.

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“When we saw the difficulty in obtaining access to fast, reliable testing in the early days of COVID-19, we knew we needed a home-grown solution that was dedicated to the health and well-being of people here in Western North Carolina,” said George Renfro, a Dogwood board member who chairs its Impact Investing Committee. “Sanesco was already exploring innovative ways to meet this need, so the timing of this investment was perfect. The fact that they will prioritize our region and provide free testing to uninsured individuals speaks volumes about their commitment to others.”

The new lab will create approximately 25 new jobs within the next two years.

Testing will be open to anyone regardless of symptoms. All COVID-19 tests run at CommunityLab are approved under Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

CommunityLab plans to offer a variety of testing options. To detect active viral infection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, CommunityLab’s testing includes rapid antigen testing via nasal swab collection and RT-PCR testing with options for either nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or saliva specimen collection.

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“Lab testing is key to reducing the spread of COVID, and our mission to improve patient quality of life is more important now than ever as stress, mental health, and economic and financial concerns are at an all-time high amidst this global pandemic,” said Hector Romero, Chairman and CEO of Sanesco. “Western North Carolina is our home. We live here. We work here. Our kids went to school here. I am passionate about helping our community get through this pandemic. Providing reliable, fast, and accurate COVID-19 testing at our lab will not only help keep our friends, families, and neighbors safer, but it can provide more accessible testing options for the underserved and vulnerable populations who have been disproportionately affected.”

CommunityLab will manage mobile testing site events with same day results available to the public. Additionally, CommunityLab aims to partner with local businesses, hospitals, urgent cares, long-term care facilities, healthcare providers, faith-based organizations, research institutions, schools, and universities and can customize services such as medical courier pick-up or Spanish translators to meet each organization’s unique needs.

To learn more or set up a testing account with CommunityLab, please visit www.communitylabwnc.com, email connect@communitylabwnc.comor call (828) 585-6443.

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