TEMPE, Ariz. (May 26, 2020) – Sonora Quest Laboratories, the market share leader in diagnostic laboratory testing in Arizona, announced today expanded services for COVID-19 diagnostic swab and antibody serology testing at 147 long-term care (LTC) facilities in Arizona, and will conduct up to 25,000 tests statewide.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicate that the fatality rate is as high as 27 percent in persons age 85 or older.
“Protecting the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents is a top priority of the Arizona Department of Health Services, and we know that residents of long term care facilities are at a higher risk for serious complications and death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “It is critical that we can test the residents of these facilities and the staff that care for them. With the help of Sonora Quest, Arizona has expanded the capacity to test more people and I appreciate their partnership.”
Given the urgency and vulnerability of this patient population and the healthcare staff that serve them, Sonora Quest strategically sought out community partnerships with Arizona Health Care Association (AHCA), the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Governor’s office to ramp up testing and help alleviate the strain on the state’s LTC facilities.
The initial launch will focus on skilled nursing facilities that are certified through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and/or licensed through Arizona, including facilities within the tribal nations.
“The residents in LTC facilities are the most vulnerable with a far higher death rate per capita when exposed to COVID-19, but have a lower rate of testing than any other sector in our state,” said Dave Dexter, President and CEO of Sonora Quest Laboratories. “Sonora Quest is uniquely positioned in the marketplace to be the only lab capable of conducting this testing given our current work with the long-term care facilities in the state, our testing capacity and our ability to successfully meet our objective of keeping our healthcare communities informed and well.”
ADHS will work diligently with all 147 facilities to ensure they have access to the testing they need for their staff and residents. Facilities do not need to request testing, and additionally, residents and staff within the facility have the option to opt out.
Sonora Quest will perform testing at their Tempe-based lab. Results will be reported to the facilities directly, as well as to ADHS, and are anticipated to be available within 5 to 7 days from collection.
A national data analytics company, hc1, was also brought into this project by providing COVID-19 population health and coordinated care data analytics to ADHS and the State Health Laboratory. There is a critical need for the cloud-based hc1 dashboard, called Sonora Quest COVID19 Command Center, to provide near real-time results, thus enabling the fastest intervention when hotspots are identified.
Sonora Quest and its community allies are hopeful that the data collected via the hc1 Command Center dashboard can help set current COVID-19 baselines, aid the state with ongoing testing regimens and develop longer term testing protocols to include serological monoclonal antibody testing for determination of COVID-19 exposure and possible immunity for healthcare workers. Eventually it could even be expanded to include family members who are frequent LTC visitors.
For more information about the COVID-19 testing service, visit www.SonoraQuest.com/coronavirus.
About COVID-19 testing at Sonora Quest
Sonora Quest is the leader in infectious disease testing services in Arizona with a broad menu of molecular, antibody, and other test services to aid diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. On March 20, 2020, the company introduced an RT-PCR test allowing for the detection of nucleic acid in respiratory specimens of patients meeting CDC’s clinical criteria for COVID-19 testing. RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 are generally used to aid diagnosis during active disease. Sonora Quest has performed and reported results of more than 120,000 diagnostic COVID-19 tests. Ramping up its fight against COVID-19, Sonora Quest began offering antibody testing for COVID-19 using blood specimens on April 24, with a physician order. That was quickly followed by a direct-to-consumer offering through their My Lab ReQuest ™ solution starting May 8, giving patients the ability to order the antibody test without a physician order or insurance. Healthcare providers and patients have the ability to order the antibody test online at sonoraquest.com and can schedule an appointment at one of the 20+ Sonora Quest Patient Service Centers that have dedicated resources for COVID-19 antibody testing collection.
About Sonora Quest Laboratories
Sonora Quest Laboratories, a joint venture between Banner Health and Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), is part of the nation’s largest integrated laboratory system with approximately 3,500 employees serving more than 26,000 patients every day throughout Arizona. Sonora Quest Laboratories is the market share leader in clinical laboratory testing in Arizona, performing nearly 90 million diagnostic tests per year.
Sonora Quest Laboratories offers a local comprehensive test menu which encompasses routine, molecular, prescription drug monitoring, genetic/genomic, women’s health and pathology testing services. My Lab ReQuest provides consumers direct access to a diverse range of affordable screening tests that can be ordered online at SonoraQuest.com or in any of Sonora Quest’s 75 patient service centers across Arizona. Ninety-eight percent of all testing is performed at our primary testing facilities located in Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott and Yuma. Sonora Quest Laboratories is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) which is the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, helping laboratories to maintain accuracy of test results and ensure accurate patient diagnosis. This accreditation ensures the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients as CAP inspectors examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and records, and overall management. www.SonoraQuest.com.