During Monday morning’s Commissioners Court meeting, commissioners alongside County Judge Brandon Bell approved the purchase of an ID NOW COVID-19 testing machine. The acquisition will be paid in part from the county’s CARES ACT grant.
The proposal of the purchase was presented by Paris-Lamar County Health District Executive Director Gina Prestridge to aid in countywide comprehensive testing for the coronavirus.
Prestridge told the court that the rapid response for either a negative or positive test of a patient would be vital in keeping up to date with the current numbers of citizens affected by the pandemic.
“We are thrilled that the commissioners agreed to this purchase as I believe it will vastly aid in identifying those in the community with coronavirus, and it will help prevent the spread by having the ability to quarantine in a timely manner when needed,” Prestridge said.
She said the ISOthermal molecular technology of the machine is currently being used by FEMA and has been authorized by the FDA. Timely results enable healthcare professionals to make appropriate and more efficient treatment and infection-control decisions.
“Positive results can be conclusive in just five minutes, while the machine will complete a negative result between 13 and 15 minutes,” she said.
Prestridge also said the purchase of the machine will aid in coronavirus testing, and it will have the ability to test for influenza as well.
“The overall cost of the machine is $36,900. That will get us 900 tests and the machine,” she said.
Prestridge also explained that without the approval of the purchase during the court session, the district would not have been able to get a machine due to a lack of funding available in their budget.
This machine will cut down on the turnaround time in obtaining results. Still, it will also have a long term use for the county as COVID-19 has been classified as a notifiable disease, meaning anyone who tests positive for the disease will be reported to the state.
Prestridge said the machine should arrive in September and is hoping to have it up and running within a week of delivery. There will also be no cost to the patient for the test as it was part of the specific COVID relief/prevention of the CARES ACT.
“We will compile a very specific criteria for the use of testing. We hope that it will help us use the kits wisely and still be able to get those people in need tested,” she said.