Cape Fear Valley Gets New COVID-19 Diagnostic Tool


FAYETTEVILLE – July 10, 2020 – Cape Fear Valley Health has a new tool in its fight against COVID-19.

The state’s 8th largest health system is now using diagnostic lab equipment that can diagnose inpatients for the COVID-19 coronavirus in an hour. The BioFire® FilmArray® system cost $140,000 and was purchased with a generous donation from Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation.

The new equipment allows Cape Fear Valley to test inpatients suspected of having COVID-19 by performing a Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP) test. The tests can simultaneously check for dozens of potential targets, including bacteria, parasites, yeast, antimicrobial resistance genes, as well as viruses such as COVID-19.

The new equipment means Cape Fear Valley no longer has to send inpatient test kits out of state for testing. Patients admitted during weekends suspected of COVID-19 previously waited up to three days for results.

“We get the results in real time now,” said Chris Tart, Cape Fear Valley Vice President of Professional Services. “That helps us place COVID-19 patients on the appropriate unit.”

BioFire Diagnostics, the equipment manufacturer, says its system can run up to 264 samples a day. Faster diagnosis means faster treatment for the correct condition.

To date, North Carolina has had confirmed 86,000 cases of COVID-19 from 1.2 million completed lab tests. More than 1,500 state residents have died and more than 1,000 are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

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