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Public health dept. starts rapid in-house COVID testing

Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has received its first order of testing cartridges for its GeneXpert molecular testing system, which will allow for more rapid testing.

Beginning this week, rapid tests were providing results within one hour.

Public Health Director Sara Bosse has been advocating aggressively for Cepheid, the producer of the cartridges since mid-March.

“The GeneXpert is our only in-house option for increasing testing,” she said. “We have been eager to increase our capacity for testing in Madera County but have been unable to use our GeneXpert machine due to the shortage of cartridges. We are excited that our advocacy with state and federal partners has paid off.

“Increasing testing is one of the identified requirements laid out by the governor for counties to reopen. If running at full capacity, approximately 44 tests can be run per day using the GeneXpert machine if the cartridges continue to be provided.

With a one-hour turnaround time for results, the tests run on the GeneXpert will be prioritized first for testing in critical situations where urgent results are imperative.” The Department continues to advocate and plan for additional testing resources for surveillance purposes,” Bosse said. “For now, it is important that the general public continue to contact their primary care physicians to get screened for testing if they feel they have symptoms related to COVID-19.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms include fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

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