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A series on the omicron surge's impact on Greater Peoria, particularly healthcare workers. This series is running the week of Jan. 18, 2022.

Reditus Labs keeping up with COVID-19 test processing turnaround despite increased demand, staffing challenges

Screenshot 2022-01-19 110429.jpg
Courtesy Reditus Laboratories
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Accessioners at Reditus Laboratories in Pekin enter COVID patient data into the laboratory's information system. The photo was edited to cover patient names on vials.

Increased demand for nasal swab COVID-19 tests isn't impacting test result turnaround time, so far.

Dr. Aaron Rossi, CEO of Reditus Laboratories in Pekin, said his company is still able to process test results in the usual 24 to 48 hours even as demand for tests at community-based testing sites increases by 30 to 60 percent, depending on the site.

Rossi said that doesn't account for any additional lag time on the part of the Illinois Department of Public Health or other partners.

That's not to say it's been easy. Rossi said his business is handling a "triple whammy," between increased demand and general workforce shortages compounded by more employees out sick with COVID-19 themselves.

Rossi said he anticipated a mid-winter spike in new COVID-19 cases as the more infectious omicron variant rapidly gains dominance. It's a trend he expects to continue through January and potentially into next month.

"The virus now is transmitting to multiple people very quickly," he said.

Testing positivity rates have decreased in the Tri-County area since last week, but still remain high. Peoria County reported a 20.66% test positivity rate on Tuesday, and Tazewell County was at 20.31%. And health officials warn those numbers are likely underestimates of the virus' true current impact, as more people rely on at-home test results not reported to the IDPH.

Reditus operates testing sites in Bloomington and DuPage County, and processes results from the community-based sites in Peoria, Champaign, East St. Louis, and Rockford.

Rossi said results of a recent proprietary assay of positive COVID-19 results show cases of the so-called "flurona" are also on the rise, as health authorities in the autumn feared might happen.

"We've seen about 20% of our positive or positive cases have flu A and COVID," said Rossi.

Flu cases fell dramatically last winter, but adherence to masking and other mitigations effective against respiratory viruses in general has waned since then.

Reditus has processed about 3.3 million COVID-19 tests since the company began operations.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.