UW Virology ‘far under capacity’ with coronavirus testing

Mar 23, 2020, 9:10 AM
coronavirus testing, swabs...
Coronavirus testing continues to ramp up. (Greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network)
(Greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network)

As concerns over a lack of coronavirus testing volume in the U.S. continue, experts at the University of Washington have provided some insight into what could be slowing down the process.

Bill Gates estimates at least 6-10 weeks before coronavirus is quelled

UW Virology’s lab has the capacity to test thousands of samples, running as many as over 3,000 tests in a single 24-hour period recently. And yet still, there continues to be a shortage of screening both in Washington and nationwide.

UW Virology provided some context for that on Sunday, pointing that not only is there no backlog of tests at its lab, it is currently operating “far under capacity.” That being so, it blames the shortage of screenings on not having enough samples to test, rather than a lack of capacity to run the tests themselves.

“Hoping we have more to test (Monday),” UW Virology said on Twitter.

Currently, tests are still being prioritized for individuals showing severe symptoms, as well as police officers, firefighters, and first responders on the frontlines. Testing for those with mild symptoms, though, has still been hard to come by, something that would be integral to preventing the continued spread of the virus.

Graphs: Coronavirus cases across the US and Worldwide

A vastly expanded testing program for those with mild or no symptoms is something that some experts have dubbed as a necessity to ensuring that coronavirus doesn’t continue to recur after cases start to subside, as well as curbing its current spread.

UW Medicine’s drive-through testing station opened last week in Northgate in a bid to speed up the sample-collecting process, but even that’s limited to patients referred directly by a UW doctor, and capable of accommodating just 50 patients a day.

Nationwide, Washington has run over 27,000 coronavirus tests as of March 22, the second most of any state in the U.S., trailing New York’s over 61,000 tests. California trails in a distant third at just under 13,000 tests, followed by over 9,700 tests in Florida.

Local News

unemployment benefits...
Nicole Jennings

People quitting over vax mandate may qualify for unemployment benefits

Do people quitting their jobs over the vaccine mandate qualify for unemployment benefits? That all depends on a certain set of circumstances.
23 hours ago
covid memorial...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County councilmember proposes memorial for lives lost to COVID

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is proposing the creation of a public art memorial to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19. 
23 hours ago
Kathryn Altena

Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21 will be the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami drill in Washington. Practice how you would drop, cover, and hold on.
23 hours ago
King County Metro...
Nick Bowman

King County reports 97% compliance with worker vaccine mandate

King County reported Tuesday that 97% of its employees have submitted paperwork in compliance with its vaccine mandate; 92% are fully vaccinated. 
23 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Heavy rain, wind from tropical ‘superstorm’ headed to Northwest

A cyclone that began as a tropical superstorm is expected to reach waters off the coast of Washington state on Thursday.
23 hours ago
City Hall Park Seattle...
Nick Bowman

King County Council to forge ahead on bid to acquire troubled City Hall Park

King County Councilmembers voted 7-2 on Tuesday to approve legislation to explore options to assume control over Seattle's City Hall Park.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
UW Virology ‘far under capacity’ with coronavirus testing