Provincial Laboratory Services and COVID-19 Testing
Provincial Laboratory Services has implemented several COVID-19 testing protocols to meet the needs of Islanders. Various testing methods are in place to ensure the laboratory can provide both urgently required test results and large-scale testing requests.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and Prince County Hospital (PCH) laboratories are equipped with GeneXpert instruments using their Health Canada cleared test. This test is used for urgent requests and can produce results in 50 minutes once received within the laboratory.
The QEH laboratory is also equipped with a BDMax instrument. This provides the ability to test large volumes of requests submitted to the laboratory. The instrument can test 24 samples at once, which takes approximately three hours to complete.
A COVID-19 diagnostic protocol has been developed for the BDMax using the Altona Covid-19 kit. The kit has been validated with the assistance of the Government of Quebec, and through evaluations with QEII Health Sciences laboratory and the National Microbiology laboratory.
The Altona kit is an FDA approved and currently Health Canada waived laboratory-developed test. This is the same test kit that is presently used by St. Michael’s, Mount Sinai and the Sick Kids Hospital.
In addition to these methods, the laboratory has sourced other testing reagents as a backup, should any supply issues arise.