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Media Contact: 
Aaron Scheinblum, Communication Strategist
319-358-2627 or e-mail: aaron.scheinblum@mercyic.org

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - Mercy Iowa City debuts state of the art technology for COVID-19 testing

Mercy Iowa City has acquired and implemented a highly accurate, state of the art laboratory instrument that doctors say provides the best and most accurate tests available to the community, making it the only community hospital in Johnson County with this new technology. The machine known as “Panther” provides rapid testing for COVID-19. Mercy Iowa City plans on making this testing available to other health care institutions, local businesses and to the community at large in conjunction with local health care providers.

This purchase was made possible by the Mercy Hospital Foundation – Iowa City and the generous contributions from all those who have donated. The goal is to offer testing to everyone in our surrounding community who has a reason to be tested in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

“Widespread testing is a vital part of ending this pandemic and Mercy is extremely pleased to be able to offer this service,” said Stephen Scheckel, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Iowa City. “Mercy Iowa City feels very fortunate to have been able to acquire this technology. This machine provides the most accurate test available in a timely fashion which is essential in the effort to limit the spread of this disease.”

The Panther allows high capacity tests per day and provides a previously unavailable, “best in class” COVID-19 test option for community health care providers, patients and other community members. Tests are available Monday-Friday and tests done prior to noon will have results back in hours on the same day, while tests in the afternoon will have results available before noon the next day. With both accurate and rapid results, Dr. Scheckel says this also opens opportunities for small businesses and schools to test in larger numbers. 

Primary health care providers must order the test for patients ahead of time. Once ordered, drive-thru testing is available at Mercy Iowa City Hospital to enhance efficiency and safety.