Mary Greeley Medical Center now has the capability to run COVID-19 tests, and determine whether a patient has the virus in 90 minutes, officials said.

The hospital recently received specific COVID-19 cartridges for their Cephid GeneXpert analyzer, which has been used at the facility for years. Before COVID-19, the machine frequently analyzed samples for diseases like Group B Strep and MRSA (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

“We take the swab, which is in a viral transport media, we mix that and take part of the sample, and we load it into the cartridge,” said Melanie Vorsten, Mary Greeley’s lab manager. “Then we can load that cartridge onto our analyzer.”

The hospital began using the new cartridges on Wednesday, and were able to tell patients their results within 90 minutes.

Mary Greeley is the only facility in Story County with the ability to process the test.

Prior to this new development, patients tested for COVID-19 at Mary Greeley would not know their results for up to 48 hours as their samples were transported to the State Hygenic Lab in Iowa City, Steve Sullivan a spokesperson for the Mary Greeley said.

Mary Greeley began inquiring about the cartridges in February, but Cepheid’s priority was sending them to hot spots like New York City and Seattle, officials said.

Besides reducing the wait time for results by using the cartridges, the hospital won’t be running through as much personal protective equipment as before, according to Vorsten.

“We had to put [patients] into isolation and use PPE appropriately until we received the results back, so instead of using two or three days worth of PPE to keep our staff and patients safe, we can conserve it and still isolate them appropriately,” Vorsten said.

Despite having the ability to test in house, Mary Greeley is following the U.S. Center of Disease and Prevention Control and the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines on who may be tested, Sullivan said.

On Wednesday, Mary Greeley also resumed their elective surgeries performed at their medical facility.

“We’re not at our usual capacity of course, but we’re getting those patients who have been waiting after having to reschedule their operation taken care of as fast as we can,” Sullivan said.

Mary Greeley is still not allowing any visitors at their facility for the time being.