BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — State-level testing for coronavirus just got a little easier thats to "updated guidance" from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has announced that the State Public Health Lab’s testing capacity will increase from 200 patients a day to approximately 400 patients a day, due to a change in national-level clinical testing protocols.
In a press release Sunday, Mass. DPH said "the Department of Public Health has implemented the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance on clinical testing protocols, which means clinicians are required to only submit one nasal swab, rather than the previous requirement to submit both nasal and throat swabs."
Officials say that change in clinical testing protocols will enable the State Lab’s testing capacity to double.
The Mass DPH statement also said 799 people have now been tested for COVID-19 at the state level. That is an increase from the 475 people that Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said on Saturday had been tested.
The statement also said Massachusetts clinicians will also have more flexibility in being able to determine which patients should be tested, "without having to call DPH’s Epi Line."
The announcement of increased access to COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts comes hours after Senator Ed Markey called on the Trump Administration to enact Wartime manufacturing mobilization levels in order to keep up with the increasing demand for tests and personal protective equipment.
"With national labs now being approved by the FDA to conduct testing, clinicians can submit specimens for testing directly to these labs. This change will enable more people to be tested and for more tests to be conducted," the DPH statement said. "With more clinical labs in Massachusetts working to get FDA approval, even more testing capacity will be coming online soon."