SHS Takes Delivery of COVID-19 Rapid Testing Equipment

Southwest Health System (SHS) has been at the forefront of providing expertise and care to the Southwest Colorado’s Montezuma and Dolores Counties during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Immediately SHS identified how critical rapid testing would be in fighting the spread of the disease. Prior to the current pandemic negotiations for procurement of the BD Max had begun in late 2019, as the machine is capable of detecting numerous communicable diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas, and various gastrointestinal pathogens, as well as the new strain of SARS-CoV-2. Instead of having to send tests off for processing, SHS will now be able to process significant volumes of samples in-house with results being available within 2-4 hours.

“The Beckton Dickinson MAX Lab Analyzer (BD Max) is an instrument that can relatively quickly amplify and detect target genetic material (RNA in COVID’s case). Using nose or throat swabs, a lab tech can process a sample to run within about 5 minutes. Samples can be batched if necessary. Run time on-instrument is 2-3 hours, and it can hold up to 24 samples. The process used to amplify DNA/RNA with the BD Max is extremely sensitive and specific for the target organism (SARS-CoV-2) making it much more accurate and with less of a sample than other tests and methodologies.” – Alan Laird, SHS Lab Director

SHS received the BD Max today, May 14th, with an initial order of 240 test kits and more on order. The sophisticated equipment requires calibration by the manufacturer once installed and it is anticipated to take several days before it is ready for patient testing. As soon as the equipment is validated and ready to process patient tests, a second press release will be issued.

“The outpouring of support for Southwest Heath System from the community has been amazing. With the leadership of Dr. Akin, the Southwest Memorial Hospital Foundation has received more than $65,000 in commitments to the BD Max Lab analyzer and on April 7th, the Montezuma Board of County Commissioners approved another $36,000 toward the purchase covering the full expense of the purchase and setup of the BD Max Analyzer. I cannot express enough how much this support means to SHS and our staff. It is a great feeling to know the community recognizes our efforts and truly appreciates what the staff are sacrificing to help the community.” – SHS CEO Tony Sudduth