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Only a few weeks after the first positive coronavirus case was identified in Maryland, the Lab Team at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States shifted its operations to processing COVID-19 PCR tests, supporting regional labs and acquiring new equipment to meet demaind.

From 2020 to 2021, the Lab Team provided nearly 730,000 COVID-19 test results.

Kaiser Permanente was one of the first health care organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region to provide drive-up testing, which helped keep staff safe and preserve personal protective equipment. The organization was also able to start administering point-of-care testing in April 2020, allowing Kaiser Permanente patients to test for COVID-19 before radiology procedures or same-day surgery. Kaiser Permanente also provided antibody testing for the detection of antibodies, which are detectable for long periods after a COVID-19 infection, to help physicians respond to a patient’s care needs.

Kaiser Permanente became the first health care organization in the nation to receive Food and Drug Administration authorization for emergency use of COVID-19 home collection kits, which the lab team helped develop in June 2020.

The lab team has also been responsive to the recent omicron variant outbreak of the coronavirus, expanding testing capacities as volumes surged to 20,000 tests a day and working to combat supply chain issues.

“Through their determined and heroic efforts, the Kaiser Permanente lab team embodies dedication, embraces flexibility and incorporates innovation to help support the region with the crucial testing of its members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Cheryl Ward, regional director of Kaiser Permanent’s Mid-Atlantic Lab Team.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.