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For months, DaVita Labs in DeLand has been providing COVID-19 PCR tests to its dialysis patients and front-line workers who it says are essential to providing life-sustaining treatment to chronically ill patients. Now, DaVita is offering those tests to employers in West Volusia and elsewhere through its state-of-the-art laboratories.

Since April, DaVita has been gradually expanding its capacity to support COVID testing for its patients and teammates, said Keri Wagner, a company vice president.

“As we did this, we realized that timely, reliable testing was in need here in our own backyard,” Wagner told The Beacon. “We spoke with health care providers, educational institutions and employers around us to understand the need, and we knew this was an area where we could help.”

According to Time magazine, PCR tests detect disease by looking for traces of the virus’s genetic material on a sample most often collected via a nose or throat swab. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers PCR tests the “gold standard” of COVID-19 testing, but, like all tests, they’re not perfect, the magazine reported.

DaVita’s DeLand facility typically processes more than 60 million specimens per year for patients receiving dialysis treatment from DaVita Kidney Care centers all across the country, so adding COVID testing was relatively easy, both locally and through its significant logistics network across the continental U.S, Wagner said.

For now, PCR testing through DaVita Labs is available only to employers and health care providers.

“We aren’t offering testing to the public, because we’ve seen that other groups in the local medical community are doing a great job meeting those needs. That said, we know that this pandemic is a moving target, so we’ll keep a pulse on how our area’s needs are changing,” Wagner said.

Employers wanting to order kits for DaVita’s testing service can send an email to labs@davita.com.

“We send out testing kits that can be used anywhere and shipped back to our lab. We also have an online portal to view your results and order tests,” Wagner said. “Pricing includes the cost of each kit, shipping to our lab and use of our online portal to easily order and view results. Cost depends on a number of factors, so we work with organizations individually to find what’s right for their needs.”

DaVita’s PCR testing process offers:

— Results reported within 24 hours of specimens arriving at DaVita Labs

— An easy-to-use online portal for ordering tests and receiving results

— Testing kits provided, if desired

— Local customer-support representatives available to answers questions and provide assistance

For more information, contact labs@davita.com.

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