First Responders Spotlight: Bringing in-house COVID-19 testing to region

First Responders Spotlight

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Dr. Dawn Riedy and her laboratory team at Rochester General Hospital have tested thousands of people for COVID-19, and their work is gaining national attention.

“It feels good. It actually does. This has been a tough couple of months,” Riedy said on receiving the News 8 First Responders Spotlight award.

Riedy and her lab tech team brought in-house COVID-19 testing to Rochester General, the first in the region to do so and expanded that to Rochester Regional Health. They have tested over 8,000 patients, and climbing, for coronavirus. 

“The bulk of the testing is a 24-hour turnaround, which honestly you can’t, there isn’t any other health care system that’s providing better turn around time than that,” she said.

RGH said Riedy works around the clock, sometimes 18-hour shifts. Reidy said she’s just one person of a team of 600 people who put in Herculean efforts every day, including fellow lab workers like Dr. Roberto Vargas. 

“When a crisis like this showed up, we’re right there in the trenches together,” Vargas said.
“I think we’re pretty convinced, we couldn’t do it without each other,” Reidy added.

“Her drive and stamina amaze me,” says Veronica Brown with RGH. “She worked three weeks straight, seven days a week, 18 to 20 hours a day to bring testing to our community that so desperately needs it. Dr. Dawn Riedy is our very own ‘Rosie the Riveter,'” adds Brown.

Riedy said that quick identification via these tests is why our death rate has been low thus far. But she says we have to keep up our social distancing and habits in order to get back to normal.

“People need to continue to self-isolate, be respectful of masking and good hand hygiene. That’s why we are where we are,” she said.

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