Portman Helps UC Health Secure COVID-19 Testing Machine & Increase Testing Capacity in Cincinnati

March 31, 2020 | Press Releases

CINCINNATI, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that he successfully helped UC Health secure vital equipment to increase diagnostic testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Portman helped UC Health secure a cobas 6800 machine which they will use to conduct nearly one thousand diagnostic tests every day, exponentially increasing COVID-19 testing capacity in southwest Ohio. 

UC Health was put on a waiting list after purchasing the machine due to vague federal guidance which led the manufacturer to withhold the machine. Portman worked with Admiral Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS,) and the Trump Administration to secure the release of the machine. Per HHS and UC Health, the machine will soon be on its way to Cincinnati. 

“It is vital that we get more testing equipment into Ohio so that Ohioans experiencing symptoms and their health care providers can be certain if they have COVID-19 and provide appropriate treatment. We’ve especially had difficulties in increasing testing capabilities in southwest Ohio,” said Portman.  “Testing is also how we’ll ultimately overcome this pandemic because once we have solid data on the scope of the disease, we’ll be able to steer our resources where they’re needed, and we’ll be able to know when it is safe to open up our economy. We still need more equipment and data, but this new machine for UC Health will help. I will continue to do anything I can to help get more of this vital equipment into Ohio.”

UC Health is Greater Cincinnati’s academic health system, affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. On Monday, the UC Health Precision Medicine Laboratory began performing in-house testing for COVID-19.

“We are grateful to Senator Portman for his assistance in procuring this specialized equipment, which will enable UC Health to further grow our ability to perform in-house testing for COVID-19,” said UC Health President & CEO Richard P. Lofgren, MD. “We are working to grow our capacity to test for COVID-19 within our laboratories, and as testing supplies and capacity increase, we intend to be able to provide access to testing to our larger community.”