Sonora Quest Laboratories and Embry Health are teaming up to provide faster COVID-19 testing throughout the state.
Sonora Quest announced Tuesday that it will begin to process all COVID-19 samples gathered by Embry's Health's 70 collection sites available throughout 35 municipalities.
The laboratory company said this will help decrease turnaround times for patients and increase Embry's Health's and Arizona Department of Health Services' (AZDHS) capabilities to collect real-time COVID-19 data.
“We know one reason people have been reluctant to get a PCR COVID-19 test is the wait to get their results,” said Raymond Embry, CEO and co-founder of Embry Health. "Thanks to Sonora Quest bringing their large and high-quality testing capacity to this partnership, we’re removing that barrier and making it easier to get access to no-cost tests with fast turnaround times.”
Both Sonora Quest and Embry's Health receive samples for and process thousands of COVID-19 molecular tests, known as PCR testing, every day throughout the state.
According to Sonora Quest, PCR testing is considered for providing more accurate and reliable results than rapid testing. At this time, the laboratories provide returning results for patients in a 24-hour average time period.
“To slow the spread of COVID-19, people need accurate answers and this partnership provides them,” said Dave Dexter, the president and CEO of Sonora Quest Laboratories. “Embry’s network of testing sites—especially in underserved communities—ensures even more people have access to the gold-standard in COVID-19 testing to keep our communities healthy.”
As Embry Health continues to provide drive-thru COVID-19 testing, Sonora Quest said the collaboration between the organizations will help increase the speed of results and help answer patient questions.
“Even as vaccinations roll out, we still need to monitor community spread of COVID-19—especially as variations of COVID-19 continue to develop. We need to know who is still getting sick so we can determine why and take appropriate action,” said Embry.
While Embry Health and Sonora Quest’s PCR diagnostic testing does detect all variants of COVID-19, it is not able to distinguish between them.
Sonora Quest sends samples from positive test results for review with ADHS's help to figure out what COVID-19 variants are present in the state.
“As the largest provider of samples to ADHS’s efforts to identify variants, our partnership with Embry will enable us to provide a wider array of samples. This will give AZDHS and all Arizonans a better picture of what is happening in our communities,” Dexter said.