East Valley company operates COVID-19 drive-thru testing center with 24-hour turnaround

Jacob Wilhoit demonstrates how COVID-19 tests are processed at the Mesa facility. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Jacob Wilhoit demonstrates how COVID-19 tests are processed at the Mesa facility. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Jacob Wilhoit demonstrates how COVID-19 tests are processed at the Mesa facility. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Jacob Wilhoit and Trevor Watters said the old bank building they leased in 2020 is a hidden gem for those looking to get a quick turnaround on their COVID-19 tests.

PRN Diagnostics set up shop in the bank building several months ago and has been running a drive-thru testing center with the promise of results within 24 hours.

Watters said that is possible because inside the building are multiple real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines running diagnostic tests on the swabs collected. Other testing sites have to send the collection to a lab, which is why processing results can take multiple days.

"It's perfect because people go through the drive-thru, we swab them and they head out into the main road," Watters said. "We are still slow, and other testing facilities with longer wait times are not. When you go to [other testing facilities], they take your sample and ship it elsewhere. But for us, we swab you right here, and on the other side of the wall we run the tests. If you come in the morning, you get your results by 3 p.m."

Wilhoit, co-founder and CEO of Med Services—an East Valley company specializing in decentralizing lab services—decided to strike out and create this testing facility to help the local community get back to their normal lives. Wilhoit said the company improves patient care by putting lab services directly in doctor's offices. So when the coronavirus pandemic gripped the Valley, Wilhoit said he thought they could create a testing facility for the community knowing what they know about the testing technology they put in doctor's offices and about the supply chain of materials they would need to be successful.


"People rely on us so people can be with their parents, so kids can go back to school—so for us, that 24-hour goal is something we try and hit every day," said Watters, the senior vice president of sales.

Wilhoit said the technology they have allows them to know granular information about the positive COVID-19 tests. They even have the correct freezer to house the vaccine, something they hope to get when it is available.

"We can tell if you are at the beginning, middle or end of the virus," Wilhoit said, describing the molecular-level technology used in determining COVID-19 positivity.

The two are passionate about the testing site—spending hours and hours there every day collecting samples and running the tests.

"We want to provide this service to our community," Watters said. "People need to get tested and get results quickly, and we can give them that here."

The testing site is located at 7007 E. Main St. in Mesa, and hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Insurance is accepted at the testing facility. Appointments are not necessary but can be scheduled online at https://prndx.com/.


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