New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer wants to use $5 million in federal funding for a COVID-19 testing facility to be run by Delaware State University, the county announced today.
The new lab will begin processing COVID-19 tests next month, and full ramp-up is expected to take 12 to 15 months.
The county said the lab will first be “a high-throughput diagnostic facility for inexpensive COVID-19 testing.” Its capabilities can later be adapted for different diagnostic testing.
The new lab will be adjacent to the university’s School of Graduate, Adult and Extended Studies at 3931 Kirkwood Highway. It will create 6 to 10 biosciences jobs.
Today’s announcement did not say how how much Delaware State is committing, how the $5 million will be used or what the lab’s capacity will be. A news conference is scheduled Tuesday.
New Castle County was awarded $322 million as part of the CARES Act, the federal stimulus to fight the effects of the pandemic. All of it must be spent by Dec. 30.
The county last month used $19.5 million in CARES Act funding to buy the Sheraton Wilmington South, with plans to turn the storied hotel into a homeless shelter.
The county is also using the funding for daily coronavirus testing, personal protection equipment, COVID-19 related reimbursement for municipalities and fire companies, housing assistance and specific emergency assistance programs for non-profit organizations.
“We work every day to increase COVID-19 testing capacity, to process tests more efficiently, to get a better deal for taxpayers and to enhance the capabilities of local universities,” Meyer said in a statement. “We formed this partnership to address all four of those goals.”
“The potential of this partnership cannot be overstated” said Delaware State President Tony Allen. “A sequencing center allows us to provide reliable, frequent COVID testing at a time when it could not be more important.”