Update – 27 Mar 2020
LabConnect continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 data to revise our Business Continuity Plan. As of today, we have escalated our response as follows:
- We currently have a limited number of employees working in operations office located in Johnson City, Tennessee. All staff that have the ability work from home are completing their first full week at their home office. Our IT staff has worked to ensure this transition has occurred smoothly and that our team members have the equipment needed to perform their work.
- All our main office based operational departments in Johnson City (Clinical Kit Building, Sample Accessioning, and Biorepository Operations) are now divided into 2 separate teams which will not be in the facility at the same time. Our goal is to limit any exposure to an entire department quarantine situation. We also have ensured that all work areas are greater than 6 feet apart and areas are disinfected throughout the day and prior to any shift changes. We do not foresee any significant capacity delays over a 7-day period, but this could limit our ability to meet expedited timelines for kit production and frozen sample shipments. We will work closely with our sponsors and clinical sites to address any urgent needs case by case.
- LabConnect has adopted the State of New York Department of Health Guidance on the Contacts of a Close or Proximate Contact of a Confirmed or Suspected Case of COVID-19 document as our policy to determine when a staff member should be quarantined. We utilized this document to develop our social distancing communications that are being enforced with our staff.
- We continue to monitor materials required for our operation and have increased our safety stock of critical items. Other than PPE, we have not experienced any limitations in securing supplies but continue to monitor this daily.
- We have secured the services of AlertMedia to provide a more robust communication tool to our staff for urgent updates.
- We receive daily updates from our courier to address any potential global logistical issues with kit and sample movements.
- We have initiated a daily meeting with our Project Management team to share and receive updates of potential study issues.
Please continue to use COVID19@labconnect.com for any COVID-19 related questions. We will also continue to adjust our plan as more information becomes available or the situation changes.
Chief Executive Officer
20 Mar 2020
The situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus is rapidly evolving and has had a significant global impact. Given LabConnect’s role in the development of critically important new products, I would like to share some of the actions we have taken to protect our employees and continue to provide high-quality support to our clients.
LabConnect has a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan which includes plans for addressing global epidemics/pandemics such as the coronavirus. Our leadership team is conducting daily meetings to review updated information including impacted regions, CDC alerts, potential supply issues, and staff/departmental risks. We are monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation closely and have several areas to highlight:
We have taken action to minimize potential disruptions including the following risks:
- Potential impact to the logistical movements of human samples due to country specific restrictions: LabConnect is working closely with our logistics providers including Marken/UPS and is reacting and communicating immediately with our Sponsors as needed. We are seeing increased cost of transporting supplies and samples within impacted areas from our logistics providers which will impact transit costs. We are also seeing some impact on transit times in areas where commercial flights have been reduced. Our courier partners are working to implement alternative transportation solutions to minimize the impacts of flight cancellations.
- Potential supply issues for clinical kits and supplies: We are monitoring our inventory carefully and have met with our key suppliers. Though we have not faced any immediate supply issues, we are monitoring this closely. LabConnect also has a long-standing relationship with a local staffing company which will allow us to bring staff on quickly to meet demand if needed.
- A general disruption of clinical trial subjects making visits: We understand this is a shared risk to our trials and will work with your staff to monitor subject compliance. In addition, we have implemented home visit testing for several studies and are actively expanding this option. Please let us know if this is something you would like to consider for your studies.
- We have significantly curtailed travel for LabConnect employees and limited visits to our Johnson City facility from external visitors: A large portion of our staff are already remote. Office-based employees that can work remotely are doing so and we are utilizing social distancing to minimize risk to essential on-site personnel. We have deployed numerous other safety initiatives to protect our staff and ensure the successful delivery of client projects.
- Potential of handling samples from impacted COVID-19 regions: Our staff are trained in proper sample handling and take precautions with all samples while utilizing proper personal protection equipment. We continue communication with staff to take extra measures during this time to ensure their own health and reduce the spread of germs – including additional hand washing, the use of sanitizer, and utilization of disinfectant. We have also enhanced cleaning services to include disinfecting all high use surfaces in our offices nightly.
- Potential impact to laboratory testing services: LabConnect is working closely with our network laboratories to assess the situation and its potential impact. Our laboratory vendors are also closely monitoring the situation and updating their business continuity plans accordingly. We remain in regular contact with our vendor labs and will provide updates as they become available.
We understand you may have additional questions and can address any specific questions you may have. Please use COVID19@labconnect.com for any COVID-19 related questions. We will also adjust our plan as more information becomes available or the situation changes.
Chief Executive Officer