A pilot program for COVID-19 of some LANL employees begins Tuesday. Photo Courtesy LANL
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A small pilot program for COVID-19 testing of Los Alamos National Laboratory employees is slated to begin on-site Tuesday.
Testing will be by appointment only and employees selected for initial testing will be among those working on-site in mission critical functions, medical professionals and emergency response personnel.
“Our goal,” said Laboratory Director Thom Mason, “is to protect the health and safety of our workforce, to prevent the spread of this disease, and to maintain our ability to deliver on mission critical work.”
Mason said following a successful pilot program and dependent on an adequate supply of collection kits, the Lab plans to expand the program to increasing numbers of high priority, on-site mission critical Lab employees and support staff.
Test collection will be through nasal swabs to detect viral RNA using a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, not a blood antibody test.
“The Laboratory has established a COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Lab capability to perform the CDC-approved PCR test analysis for the detection of the SARS-CoV2 virus,” Mason said.
The Department of Energy has authorized the testing and the Lab is registered with the state of New Mexico.
A senior Lab official confirmed Monday to the Los Alamos Reporter that LANL will immediately notify the state in the case of a positive test.