Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26 . (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26 . (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Borough looks at purchasing new COVID-19 testing machine

The platform would be purchased for no more than $400,000, with expected delivery in four to six months.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will vote on an emergency ordinance appropriating $400,000 for a molecular testing platform at their meeting Tuesday. The proposed purchase is aimed at bolstering COVID-19 testing capability.

COVID-19 testing for borough residents is “neither rapid, reliable nor ubiquitous as necessary to protect our communities,” borough administrators John Hedges, Dan Nelson, Brenda Ahlberg and Brandi Harbaugh said in a May 21 memo to the assembly.

Less than 3% of the borough’s population has been tested for COVID-19 — due to lack of a centrally located high-capacity testing, according to the memo.

According to the memo, Mayor Charlie Pierce and both hospitals have decided that purchasing a centralized high-capacity rapid test system would be needed to “protect borough residents and businesses … as the pandemic continues to plague and disrupt our communities.”

The platform — the Cobas 6800 system — would be purchased for no more than $400,000 from Roche Diagnostics Corporation. The platform is in large demand, the memo said, and many of the units are already back-ordered. The memo said annual maintenance costs for the system are $45,000 with an initial expected delivery lead time of four to six months.

“In discussion with CPH the Cobas 6800 is the only unit on the market that meets this size and capacity for the testing needs of COVID-19,” the memo said.

The memo said borough administration will pursue “additional grant opportunities” through the federal COVID-19 relief package for reimbursement. The Kenai Peninsula Borough has been awarded $37,458,449 from the CARES Act, with a first installment of $21,325,715.

The emergency ordinance will be heard at 6 p.m. during Tuesday’s assembly meeting, which will be open to the public virtually via Zoom, using meeting ID 128 871 931.

More in News

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
Case count dips after 5 record days of positive cases

Alaska has had 1,338 cases of the disease since the state began tracking the pandemic in March.

An adult, female bald eagle was rescued from a tree Saturday in Juneau. The eagle was taken to Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. (Courtesy Photo | Kerry Howard)
Juneau bald eagle rescued on Fourth of July

Injured but conscious, the raptor will get treatment in Sitka.

Robin Richardson, right, and her coworker Ellen Paffie from Georgia get ready for the night shift at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York on May 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy Robin Richardson)
Soldotna nurse joins COVID-19 fight at New York hospital

Richardson cared for 53 critically ill COVID-19 patients. Only two of those patients lived.

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
COVID-19 week in review: Case count jumps; new hospitalizations, deaths reported

The current average positivity rate for all tests conducted is 1.39%.

‘Crowning jewel’

Iron Mike statue unveiled at Soldotna Creek Park

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska is seen here on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to consider declaring 2nd Amendment ‘sanctuary’

The proposed ordinance opposes legislation restricting rights protected by the Second Amendment.

Bikers participate in the Fourth of July Parade in Kenai on July 4, 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officially sanctioned events for July 4 — including the parades in Kenai, Seward and Homer and the Mount Marathon Race in Seward — have been canceled. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
A quiet 4th of July

With public events canceled, officials urge residents to practice caution.

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
Seward takes emergency measures as cases rise

Alaska has had 1,226 cases of the disease since the state began tracking the pandemic in March.

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
38 new resident COVID-19 cases seen

It was the largest single-day increase in new cases of COVID-19 among Alaska residents.

Most Read