Coronavirus: Van Nuys lab ready to produce tests results in 24 hours, issues plea for supplies

VAN NUYS, Calif. (KABC) -- A Van Nuys-based lab claims it can turn around COVID-19 tests in 24 hours, but says it is struggling to get the supplies it needs to do the work.

The owner of Primex Clinical Laboratory says she has pleaded with state and local leaders, adding that the facility is fully staffed and ready to use its resources in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

"We are capable of running 1,000 of these samples every day," said co-owner Melody McQueen.

But McQueen says the lab is not being given the chance -- it's not being sent supplies from the state to conduct COVID-19 tests.

"We just don't have the supplies to do the reagents to do it. And when we reach out to these vendors, they they've given the supplies to other designated laboratories that have been designated by our government," McQueen said.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has said 90,000 tests have been conducted in California, but only 30,000 results have been received due to a tremendous backlog.

California's Health and Human Services Agency secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, says officials are seeking help.

"We are working with just about every testing entity that we can reach out to, to figure out what they can provide California," Ghaly said.

But that's not the case for Primex Laboratories. McQueen says they've sent a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in an effort to get the supplies they need to help.

"Although we're the smaller guy, we still have the capability of running these tests. And so do all the other labs, smaller laboratories in California, in New York, in Washington, but we need to also be provided with the supplies that we need to do this," McQueen said.

ABC7 reached out to the mayor's office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

McQueen on Monday said the lab has enough supplies to last about 1000 tests but it will likely run out by the end of the week.
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