Reditus Laboratories responding to five-fold increase in testing

Reditus Laboratories is experiencing a five-fold increase in COVID-19 testing but, thanks to the dedication of its employees, the lab’s average turnaround time for processing test results remains 24 to 48 hours.

“I’ve been very happy with our response,” said Reditus CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi. “We’re in a good position to continue to service the community.”

Reditus has experienced a surge in demand for testing because of the spread of the omicron variant, winter travel and the reopening of schools. For example, at the testing site that Reditus operates at the Interstate Center in Bloomington, 807 people were tested on Dec. 27, the highest single day total since November 2020. Since then, daily totals have ranged from 392 to 735.

At the lab in Pekin, which processes nasal specimens from a variety of locations, 15,000 to 17,000 specimens have been tested per day since the surge began, compared to 3,000 tests a day before the surge, said Michelle Anderson, laboratory compliance manager.

Each specimen undergoes PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing. The PCR test is the “gold standard” for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s the most accurate and reliable test.

Despite the five-fold increase in testing, the lab’s average turnaround time for processing test results is 24 to 48 hours. Reditus has been able to accomplish this during a “sky high” demand for testing because employees have taken on extra work and new employees have been hired, Rossi said.

Meanwhile, the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 continues to increase. For example, from Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, 7,859 of 45,868 tests by Reditus were positive, for a positivity rate of 17.1%. That compared with 6.8% the week before.

The 2020-2021 average turnaround time was 16 hours.

Reditus has processed more than 3 million COVID tests since April 2020.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the seven-day average COVID positivity rate as of Jan. 11 was 16.9%. Of 29,798 cases of variants of concern in Illinois as of Jan. 10, 1,568 were the omicron variant, according to IDPH.

Rossi predicts that, with omicron surging, the next few weeks will remain rough. Viruses generally are less pathogenic (disease causing) over time and some researchers predict that COVID-19 will become a seasonal disease. Testing for COVID-19 will remain an important part of the disease’s management, Rossi said.