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St. Luke’s hopes to increase coronavirus testing capacity

April 18, 2020 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — St. Luke’s Health System says it’s looking to significantly increase its testing capacity for the coronavirus by using its own labs starting Monday.

Hospital officials said they hope that facilities in Boise, Twin Falls, Ketchum, Meridian, Nampa and McCall can start using their own labs that could boost testing capacity past 1,700 per day by May.

But that depends on getting particular testing supplies that have been in high demand.

St. Luke’s also said that drive-up screening tents for the coronavirus will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week in Boise, Meridian and Twin Falls starting Monday. The screening tents had been operating to 6 p.m., but officials say volume is greater in the morning.

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Idaho has at least 1,655 virus cases and 43 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally on Saturday morning.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. But it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death for some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.