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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Covington Lab Ramping Up COVID-19 Testing

Gravity Diagnostics
This is an example of the magnitude of supplies Gravity Diagnostics needs as it prepares to process thousands of COVID-19 tests.

Gravity Diagnostics, a Covington lab located in the SIDIS building, got the go-ahead from the U.S. government to process COVID-19 tests a couple of weeks ago. The company says it will be able to do 15,000-20,000 per week if necessary.

Tony Remington has lost track of the days he's been so busy. He's hired 16 employees to work two shifts, even on Saturday.

"We're doing about 200 samples a day right now and we expect that to get up over a thousand shortly," he says.

Gravity was established in 2014. It was mainly doing pharmacogenomic testing to find out if certain drugs would work on particular patients, running upper respiratory infection and toxicology tests. That was before COVID-19. Remington says his main Ph.D. asked for permission to come up with a way to focus on the coronavirus. This was while it was still in China.

Credit Gravity Diagnostics
This lab says everyone has stepped up as part of a team. It is using the hashtags #TheGravityWay and #GravityStrong.

The test is fast. Remington says Gravity can process a thousand samples in eight hours. That's faster than the five-minute test Abbott Labs is promising, he says. Typically hospitals would get the results the next day.

Remington says time is key when fighting COVID-19. "If you have 100 occupied beds in your hospital you can get results tomorrow on who's positive and who's negative. That can help you with your nurses, with your doctors. You know, how you allocate who sleeps in what bed, etc."

Gravity is running tests for patients at Ohio and Kentucky hospitals and nationwide.