CHAPEL HILL –  A coronavirus test developed by Melissa Miller, director of the Clinical Molecular Microbiology Laboratory at the UNC School of Medicine, was being deployed by UNC Health on Monday, officials said. The test should help reduce some of the burden on North Carolina’s public health lab regarding testing, they said.

The UNC test will initially be available only for inpatients at UNC Medical Center, UNC Rex Hospital and other UNC Health hospitals across North Carolina, as well as some UNC Health clinic locations, officials said.

“The ability to conduct in-house testing is a crucial step in our response to COVID-19,” Dr. Wesley Burks, UNC Health chief executive and dean of the UNC School of Medicine, said in a statement. “Our ability to test patients and receive results in a matter of hours will help us to better understand the spread of the virus in our state and, most importantly, allow us to quickly move to treat positive patients and provide relief to patients who test negative.”

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