Los Angeles-based TestDirectly, Northwest Laboratory, and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) have formed a partnership to test the state’s 500,000 long-term care residents and staff for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19.
The partnership was formed in response to the White House call to states to test all of their long-term care residents for covid-19.

“The very next day [after the announcement], we were approached by Florida’s Department of Health,” says Suren Avunjian, chief executive officer of LigoLab Information System. “Their objective was to be the first state to complete the challenge set by the administration, even though they have one of the highest senior populations in the country. Within a week we had the TestDirectly platform up and running, ready to test a half-million residents and employees across 4,000 facilities and 67 counties.”

Avunjian and his team swiftly built and brought to the market TestDirectly as a LigoLab sister company in February of this year. The LigoLab-TestDirectly integration provides an end-to-end platform that covers the entire testing workflow from self-registration, to report delivery, to follow-up, with results delivered directly to the patients.

In the first phase of the plan, Florida’s objective is to conduct baseline tests to identify asymptomatic patients. Once the baseline test is complete, the collection and testing responsibility shifts to the senior care facilities.

The TestDirectly platform is assisting Florida’s collection efforts by enabling all long-term care employees to self-register online and all facility administrators to order multiple tests for their residents through the same portal. This process eliminates additional paperwork, data entry errors, and contact risk.

Florida’s DOH has a strike team that’s coordinating the registration and collection of specimens from every facility. The department is using both paper and electronic workflows for registration and collection, and every order receives a unique barcode identification.

The department collects 10,000 nasopharyngeal swab samples daily and ships them to Northwest Laboratory in Bellingham, Wash.

At the laboratory, the barcodes are scanned and the orders are electronically fed into the LigoLab LIS. The system generates labels for both the requisitions and the specimens, which allows the specimens to go right to processing in a streamlined workflow that enables the laboratory to routinely test 10,000 samples a day.

The turnaround time for processing is 4 to 6 hours after the specimens arrive at the laboratory, and the transfer of the results from the instrument interface to the LigoLab LIS, and then to the TestDirectly platform, is all completed within 10 minutes. Florida’s long-term care residents and employees receive their test results via the portal within 2 to 3 days of collection.

“We are very grateful for the attention that TestDirectly and LigoLab have given us in support of our Florida initiative,” says Dayle Mooney, manager of community preparedness for Florida Health. “It’s been amazing for us and we look forward to continuing that relationship. I hope others will take advantage of the opportunities that LigoLab has given Florida.”

In addition to Florida, TestDirectly is also currently deployed in Illinois, Colorado, and Washington.

For more information, visit TestDirectly, LigoLab, and the Florida Department of Health.