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More COVID-19 testing coming to Hampton Roads through state partnership

Posted at 12:59 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 18:02:08-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - More COVID-19 testing is coming to our region as the number of cases surges across the country, according to state health officials.

To be more effective and efficient, the Virginia Health Department has created a partnership with labs across the state including Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk.

It’s called Virginia’s OneLab Network and the goal is to produce more testing.

“The OneLab Network will expand testing capabilities throughout the Commonwealth by contracting with health systems to directly support public health efforts such as outbreak investigations, community testing events, and other priority testing needs. Sentara Laboratory Services is one of three health laboratories across the Commonwealth to be selected,” according to information from Sentara.

Eric Young is the Sentara Healthcare Director of Laboratory Services. Virginia Tech, UVA, and Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk are working together.

Governor Northam issued a statement that said the goal to be able to perform 7,000 tests per day by the end of the year.

Sentara officials said they are already preparing for the anticipated increase in testing demands during the winter months and upcoming flu season.

Young said more testing means earlier detection and a safer community.

“The purpose of doing more testing is finding those cases earlier so that we can get contact tracing done, get folks in quarantine so we're not spreading a systematically to our friends and our family,” said Young, “The more testing that we have available, the quicker and faster we can do that and identify those potential cases.”

Young said the public could see an increase in community events around the state.

“We have said all along that it will take everyone working together to control the spread of COVID-19, and the OneLab Network does that by bringing together Virginia’s strong public health system with our clinical hospital and university lab partners to provide priority testing across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “We have come a long way in increasing our COVID-19 testing capabilities over the past several months, and the new OneLab Network will help ensure public health has continued access to high-quality testing and prompt results.”

State officials said currently, the state is using multiple private vendors to also assist with laboratory capacity to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.

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