March 30, 2020
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Clinic Health System has officially rolled out in-house testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the result of a collaboration between the Health System's research and clinic lab teams. While this is an important step forward for the Health System in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, organizational leaders stressed that lab materials needed to conduct testing are in short supply across the country and locally.
"Our ability to test for COVID-19, and turn results around within a day, gives us an important tool against this virus," said Dr. Thomas Fritsche, medical director for Health System laboratories. "It will allow us to allocate our resources to patients that need them the most as we learn more about the impact the pandemic will have on the areas we serve."
Researchers and staff from Marshfield Clinic Research Institute collaborated with the Health System's clinical lab to clear one major barrier to widespread COVID-19 testing. Jen Meece, Ph.D., director of the Integrated Research and Development Laboratory at the Research Institute, helped lead the initiative.
"I am very proud of my team and the partnership with our clinical lab colleagues to make this happen. It is another example of the value Marshfield Clinic Research Institute brings to the Health System," Meece said. She added that her team's work uniquely positions the Health System to play an important role in outbreaks like COVID-19.
While in-house testing in central Wisconsin is an important step forward, supply issues for testing materials continues to be a challenge. COVID-19 testing currently focuses on patients who need to be hospitalized and health care workers.