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Hill Laboratories starts COVID-19 testing as only non-DHB facility in the Waikato

Hill Laboratories, New Zealand's largest privately owned analytical testing laboratory, has partnered with the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) to provide additional testing capacity in Hamilton for SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) from this week.

See Sunday Star-Times coverage.

Hill Laboratories is the only non-DHB facility in the Waikato providing the testing service, and one of only three non-DHB laboratories across New Zealand approved to test for COVID-19.

Hill Laboratories recognised the importance of rapid and extensive testing for the coronavirus early on, so they reached out to the Waikato DHB to offer support.

“Waikato DHB engaged with us early on during Alert Level four lockdown, assessed our capability and laboratory facilities and decided to partner with us,” says CEO of Hill Laboratories, Dr Jonno Hill.

“There was a strong alignment of values between Hill Laboratories and the Waikato DHB around the importance of high-quality testing, and the partnership means that the testing capacity in the Waikato will be increased considerably.”

Once the decision was made to partner in April, the company moved quickly into implementation mode, working closely with International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ).

“Our team has put in hard work and long hours to make sure this service was available in a record time of 18 working days. We look forward to the first samples arriving at our lab for testing,” says Dr Hill.

Due to the nature of the testing, Hill Laboratories has put in place strict safety and confidentiality protocols.

“The testing will be carried out in a secure laboratory environment by a few select personnel, and will be kept separate from all the other testing we conduct for other clients,” says Dr Hill.

Dr. Eilidh Mowat, who leads the Hill Laboratories molecular biology team in Hamilton, will work closely with Dr. Chris Mansell, Clinical Microbiologist at the DHB, to ensure all testing is completed to a suitably high standard.

Dr Hill says that “as a 100% New Zealand-owned business, it feels good to be playing an active role in our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”