A local Mobile laboratory is obtaining equipment to make COVID-19 testing kits specifically for the city, Mayor Sandy Stimpson confirmed in an interview with Lagniappe this afternoon.
Stimpson said his office has struck a deal with Synergy Laboratories CEO Brad Pitts to develop tests specifically for use at drive-in testing sites throughout the city.
“He has got the equipment on order,” Stimpson said. “He’s got the necessary ingredients to make kits on order. He is hoping that maybe by April 1 he can be supplying an abundance of kits.”
Stimpson said Pitts hopes to develop 10,000 kits by April 1. Like with all laboratory kits, Stimpson said, the ones produced by Syngery can only be sent back to the Rangeline Road facility for results.
In addition to the Synergy test kits, Stimpson said the city is also awaiting kits from the Mobile County Health Department, which are on order from the Alabama Department of Public Health. As of right now, Stimpson said, the city does not know when those kits will be available.
“There are not nearly enough because there is no supply,” he said.
In the meantime, city officials are still preparing two drive-in testing facilities at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the Grounds. Executive Director of Public Safety James Barber said a group of officials will visit on Saturday with Assurance Laboratories in Birmingham and Church of the Highlands, where drive-through testing has been taking place much of the week, to learn how to effectively administer the tests.
To avoid traffic snarls and other issues, Barber said the Mobile facilities will either be staffed with an on-site doctor for screenings and triage, or work based on doctor referrals. The sites will not be open to the public.
“We’re in the process of figuring out how to do that,” Stimpson said.
Stimpson said volunteers at the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham tested more than 1,500 people in three days.
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