Northport VAMC has recently acquired a BioFire respiratory panel system (pictured above) to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The BioFire COVID-19 testing solution provides quick COVID-19 test results for Long Island’s Veterans, taking the wait down from two days to one hour.

Beth LeMaitre (right), microbiology and molecular serology supervisor, and Mary Creed, lead technologist

Beth LeMaitre, microbiology and molecular serology supervisor, and the facility’s microbiology staff utilize cutting edge technologies like the BioFire respiratory panel system to perform tests ordered by physicians daily. Tests include a multitude of specimen types and test methodologies.

Microbiology is the branch of biology that studies microorganisms and their effects on humans. The VA Microbiology mission is to provide quality patient care through state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, continuous improvement, education, and highly skilled personnel.

Better and quicker results

“We’ve had this for about a month. We used to send these respiratory panels to the Bronx and we’d see a 24- or 48-hour turnaround. Now it’s an hour. It is wonderful to have this here and we’re really excited,” said LeMaitre. “We’re just trying to get better and quicker identifications to help our patients.”

Informed decisions for patient care

“We do patient testing. We’re running all the COVID-19 testing here. We do blood cultures, bacteriology cultures. We do the best we can to take care of our Veteran patients,” LeMaitre added.

“It has helped our doctors make more informed decisions for patient care,” said Mary Creed, the lead technologist in microbiology and molecular serology. “They can, rather than admit patients, send them home knowing that it is just the common cold and not something more infectious. It really benefits patient care. It is really user friendly and easy.”

Eric Guzman is a public affairs specialist at the Northport VA Medical Center.

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