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Rapid coronavirus testing rolls out in Mackay

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Mackay is set to become home to a faster and more reliable COVID-19 testing machine being called the 'big cat' of pathology.

The $275,000 rapid testing instrument, dubbed the 'Panther', will allow the local health service to process their own COIVD tests and other respiratory conditions.

Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert says the Panther can test around 750 samples a day.

“The new Hologic Panther Fusion can diagnose COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory conditions in approximately three hours," Ms Gilbert says.

Chief Executive Lisa Davies Jones says the new machine now allows the pathology samples to be tested in Mackay instead of Townsville.

What this means is that locals will see faster turnaround times for testing results, which will make sure that people get the right treatment in the fastest possible manner.

However due to the cost per test and the limited supply of consumables to run the Point of Care PCR analysers meant that testing onsite was limited to urgent cases only.

The Panther would process samples from around the health service including St Lawrence, Sarina, Proserpine, Bowen, Whitsunday Islands, Collinsville, Clermont, Moranbah, Middlemount and Dysart.