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Michigan Tech testing COVID-19 samples on campus in Upper Peninsula

Michigan Technological University
Michigan Tech has partnered with regional hospitals to coordinate receiving and testing patient samples on campus.

Michigan Technological University opened a COVID-19 testing lab on its Houghton campus this week.

Researchers at the school worked for over a month to get it up and running.

The lab can’t take samples from patients, but can help healthcare providers deal with their sample backlogs.

Hospitals in the region were notified Thursday morning that the lab could start accepting samples.

An article on Michigan Tech's website says the lab could decrease test result wait times by anywhere from a day to a week.

Claire Danielson is the clinical practicum coordinator for Michigan Tech’s Medical Lab Science program. She expects the lab's testing capacity to increase as time goes on.

“We currently have the capacity to run quite a few samples," she said. "We can run a couple hundred a day once we really get ramped up. But before we commit to that, we really have to make sure that all of our researchers and lab techs are trained properly and efficiently."

So far, two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Houghton County, and 56 in the entire Upper Peninsula. Nine U.P. residents have died since the pandemic began.

Kaye LaFond
Kaye is an alumnus of Michigan Tech's environmental engineering program. She got her start making maps for the Traverse City-Based water news organization Circle of Blue, and, since then, she's been pretty devoted to science communication and data visualization.