Lab at the Epicenter of NY’s Coronavirus Pandemic

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TODAY, THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC DOMINATES the daily activities of every clinical laboratory in the United States. The emergence of COVID-19 has triggered unprecedented actions by governments in different nations throughout the world.

Within this country, all 50 states reported SARS-CoV-2 infections. But it is New York State that was hit hardest early in this pandemic. Until recent days, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in New York represented half of all cases and deaths reported in the United States.

One lab that found itself at ground zero in this unprecedented outbreak of a novel coronavirus is Northwell Health Laboratories, located on Long Island. The lab team wanted to give The Dark Report inside access to its urgent pandemic response strategies and actions so that their lessons learned could be shared on these pages to help labs everywhere better respond to the outbreak in the communities they serve.

That is how we learned that the Northwell lab team characterizes itself as being “in the epicenter of the epicenter.” If New York State is currently the COVID-19 epicenter in the U.S., then the New York City metro is the epicenter of the outbreak in New York State because more than 50% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Empire State have happened in the NYC metro.

For this issue of The Dark Report, the Northwell lab team provided up-to-the-minute information about how the lab is adding value in the way it supports local physicians, the 23 hospitals in its system, local and state public health officials, and even the Governor’s staff. You’ll also read details about the way the lab adapted its existing mobile phlebotomy service to go to patients’ residences to collect nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing (here). Another intelligence briefing on here describes how the Northwell Lab is supporting drive-up collection sites.

The editorial team here at The Dark Report wants to recognize the willingness of the Northwell laboratory administration and managers to carve out time to work with us to share useful information about their crisis response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In that spirit, we offer this “shout out” to all the dedicated pathologists, laboratory scientists, and staff at theclinical laboratory and pathology division of Northwell Health.

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