UP, Alluvion, Adlera Lab partnering for COVID-19 tests for returning students

The University of Providence, Alluvion Health and Adlera Laboratory have partnered for COVID-19 testing as the university prepares to bring students back to campus for the spring semester.

Adlera Lab, a CLIA certified high-complexity diagnostic lab owned and operated by Alluvion Health, will utilize a qPCR machine, to process 344 saliva samples per day for the detection of COVID-19.

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The tests will be administered by trained university staff, leaving Alluvion staff free to continue providing community testing. The saliva test with Adlera processing can turn results within 24 hours as long as testing doesn’t exceed capacity, according to Alluvion.

The machine was ordered in partnership with Adlera, UP and Alluvion. It hasn’t been used locally yet but officials plan to use it for UP staff, faculty and students in mid-January, according to Alluvion.

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The university has allowed students to determine whether they want to return to campus for the spring and, according to UP officials, about 50 percent of the student body participate in remote-only programs and will remain remote for the duration of their studies.

Any student participating in face-to-face courses or university-sponsored activities, is required to quarantine for 10 days, must test on the 11th day and must have a negative test result to participate, according to an email from UP officials.

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UP officials told The Electric that throughout the spring semester they’ll be testing a percentage of the campus community randomly each month and student athletes participating in competition will be tested weekly.

Eventually the saliva direct testing will be available to the public, but for now, it’s just for UP, according to Alluvion.

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 Adlera Lab recently acquired the proper equipment and insurance to be able to run their PCR COVID-19 tests in-house, reducing their turnaround time for results, Erin Merchant, Alluvion spokeswoman told The Electric. That’s the test method they use at the drive through site which is available to the public and test results are now expected within 2-3 days, she said. Adlera can process about 450 tests daily, Merchant told The Electric.

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“Since the laboratory capacity is a critical limiting factor to testing, an additional RT-qPCR instrument could easily double the lab’s output leading to a quicker test to result time,” S. Diane Lund, Ph.D., and UP faculty program lead for Masters of Science Infection Prevention & Epidemiology, said in a release. “Those who are infected do not typically show symptoms until day 5, so if testing happens before symptoms appear and we get a quick result, we might be able to isolate individuals before they infect too many people.”

Cascade County added 85 new cases on Dec. 22, according to the state map, bringing the county’s total to 6,453.

Of those, 1,435 are currently active, according to the state map.

As of Dec. 21, there were 38 active cases associated with Great Falls Public Schools.