A lab professional’s dedication to urgent, accurate COVID-19 testing
Suzanne Dale, who serves as the technical director of molecular biology at LabCorp, has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since the very start. In her role at LabCorp’s Center for Esoteric Testing in North Carolina, Suzanne has been an essential member of the COVID-19 response team – working to make sure that all COVID-19 diagnostic tests that run through her lab are performed accurately and efficiently, and then transitioning to help develop and process LabCorp’s at-home collection option for COVID-19 testing.
Like many of the passionate lab professionals responding to COVID-19, Suzanne and her colleagues have been leading an around-the-clock effort to bring new diagnostic tests online in record time, increase test capacity and offer expanded testing options to meet the needs of patients across the country.
“The clinical laboratories in the United States were able to mobilize quickly and effectively and with a depth of expertise that’s unparalleled,” Suzanne said. That expertise and experience helped inform LabCorp’s response to the growing access challenges facing patients in need of COVID-19 testing.
In May, LabCorp received the first EUA to permit nasal swab specimens to be collected at home and sent to LabCorp for testing. The launch of this at-home collection kit was an important step to increasing access to COVID-19 testing for many Americans who are home-bound or have limited access to traditional specimen collection methods.
Clinical testing and diagnoses are essential to informing treatment plans and medical decisions – during a pandemic and every day. While LabCorp is processing hundreds of thousands of tests each day, Suzanne and her team never lose sight of the individual patients relying on them for their health. “We see the [specimen] tube, but behind that tube is a patient and a doctor waiting on the result. So, we need to act with urgency and accuracy. Because a single test result could potentially change that person’s life,” Suzanne said.
In times of uncertainty, and especially during a public health crisis like COVID-19, doctors and experts rely heavily on the clinical testing results that laboratory professionals provide. “The testing that we perform is going to be used to determine if a patient may be able to go back to work or back to school or to screen for an operation,” Suzanne said.
As the country moves forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, Suzanne and her team at LabCorp are continuing to work around the clock to provide accurate and reliable testing for patients across the country. With the contributions from the staff at LabCorp, ACLA member laboratories have run more than 28 million tests to date.
Watch highlights from the interview with LabCorp’s Suzanne Dale.