At the Ithaca Mall COVID-19 testing site, results will now come much faster than before.
Ithaca-based Rheonix Inc. is partnering with Cayuga Health to localize sample testing, which will allow patients to receive same-day results. Founded by Greg Galvin M.S. ’82, Ph.D. ’84, MBA ’93, Rheonix is a molecular diagnostics technology company based in Cornell’s Business and Technology Park.
Cayuga Health is now able to run and receive same-day results for around 200 samples per day in their own laboratory using a Rheonix testing machine. Previously, all samples from the testing site were sent to a larger commercial laboratory, requiring patients to wait up to five days to hear their results.
On April 29, the Food and Drug Administration approved Rheonix’s request for an Emergency Use Authorization for a rapid, same-day COVID-19 test. Once samples are loaded into the testing machine, their system allows tests to be processed without involving a technician, the company’s statement read.
“I am incredibly happy to be able to support Cayuga Health — Rheonix’s hometown health system — with their fight against this COVID-19 pandemic by giving them the ability to provide same day test results to their patients,” Galvin said in a Cayuga Medical press release.
Galvin served on Cornell’s Board of Trustees from 2011 until 2015, and was named Cornell’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year.
At Ithaca’s drive-thru site, anywhere between 150 and 250 patients show up daily for testing, Dr. Elizabeth Plocharczyk, specialist in anatomical and clinical pathology at Cayuga Health, said in the release. The Ithaca testing site has the capacity to test up to 1,000 patients per day.
“[Rheonix’s] technology and expertise has enabled us to be able to provide same day results for COVID-19 testing – one of the quickest turnaround times in our region,” said Martin Stallone, president and CEO of Cayuga Health.
Drive-thru testing started on March 16 in Ithaca. The site then moved to the Shops at the Ithaca Mall on March 24, which remains open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Those qualified for COVID-19 testing can visit www.cayugahealth.org for an online screening and registration process or can call (607) 319-5708. The Tompkins County Health Department allows anyone who shows COVID-19 symptoms, anyone who has come into contact with a COVID-19 positive individual in the past 14 days and all essential workers to be tested. Testing at the Ithaca site is free.